It was announced by the European Commission on Tuesday that it has approved the continuation of the UK Enterprise Management Initiative (EMI) scheme: Commission approves prolongation of UK Enterprise Management Initiative scheme.
EMI schemes reduce the taxation of employee share options for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). This is positive news for family and owner managed businesses with EMI schemes that were hoping to grant tax-advantaged options to their employees but have held off due to the uncertainty arising after the expiration of Commission approval on 7 April. (For more information on this, visit: Important news for companies considering granting EMI share options.)
However, the Commission’s announcement does not contain guidance regarding options granted between 7 April and the date of the approval or the date that the approval is effective from. Furthermore, there hasn’t been an update from the Government on HMRC’s employment related securities bulletins. As soon as we have further information we will update this blog accordingly.
Under EMI schemes, employees of SMEs can benefit from reductions from income tax and/or national insurance contributions, when exercising their share options. Furthermore, the employer also benefits from reductions from such contributions.
As a caveat to this positive news, the Commission made it clear in its announcement that the decision will only apply to the UK until it ceases to be an EU Member State subject to any agreements contained in the Withdrawal Agreement.