EMI Options – Important Announcement From HMRC

Corporate Alert

HMRC recently issued an important bulletin in relation to EMI schemes (read the bulletin here). This bulletin will be of interest to those clients who intend to grant EMI share options in the near future.

The bulletin notes that:  

  • Current EU State Aid Approval for EMI schemes ends on 6 April 2018.
  • The government is in the process of applying for fresh approval from the European Commission and are awaiting the final response.
  • There will be a period of time between the lapse of existing approval and a decision by the Commission on fresh approval.
  • EMI share options granted in this period may not be eligible for the usual tax advantages afforded to EMI schemes.

Companies should note the following: 

  • HMRC considers that EMI share options granted up to and including 6 April 2018 will not be affected.
  • Depending on other commercial considerations, companies may wish to delay the grant of EMI share options until fresh EU State Aid approval has been given.

It is important to highlight that the European Commission has in the past backdated other EU State Aid approvals, and it is hoped that retrospective approval will be received.  However, this is not yet certain as we await further announcements in the near future.

If you would like to discuss the impact of this update, please get in touch with your usual Orrick contact.