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Government-sponsored employee share schemes: consultations

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HMRC is consulting on recommendations made by the Office of Tax Simplification on the treatment of the four ‘tax advantaged’ employee share schemes.

The schemes are the Share Incentive Plan (SIP), Save As You Earn (SAYE), the Company Share Option Plan (CSOP), and Enterprise Management Incentives (EMI). The OTS report published in March 2012 made three main recommendations:

‘Introduce a self certification process for the SIP, SAYE and CSOP schemes; undertake further investigation into whether the CSOP scheme is still relevant for UK businesses; and if CSOP is found to still be of relevance, merge the EMI and CSOP schemes.’

The government is consulting on the first two recommendations. ‘In view of this investigation, the government believes that it would not be appropriate to consult on [merging EMI and CSOP] at the present time,’ HMRC said in Consultation: Office of Tax Simplification’s report on tax advantaged employee share schemes.

HMRC is also consulting on a proposal to extend access to EMIs to academic employees of qualifying companies. The change would be subject to state aid clearance by the European Commission, HMRC said in Enterprise Management Incentives: extending access for academic employees.

Responses to both consultations are invited by 18 September 2012.