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As the saying goes, you don’t know what you have got until it’s gone, and this was almost the case with this important tax relief that benefits many growing businesses – EMI schemes.

On 4 April 2018 HMRC issued a bulletin  over the tax-effectiveness of the EMI scheme and confirmed that the state aid approval for these employee share option schemes expired on 6th April 2018.

This was a big blow to businesses leaving everything up in the air  for schemes part way through being implemented, or for businesses with plans to put such EMI schemes in place., It was unknown as to whether EMI schemes, would now fall by the wayside  and alternative planning would need to be considered.

EMI scheme update

To the relief of accountants and business’ alike, yesterday it was announced that the European commission’s decision was to approve the renewal of the EMI schemes state aid approval.

In addition to the being satisfied the EMI schemes conditions are in line with the EU state aid rules, the European commission appear to have taken on board that this is a relief crucial in attracting and retaining talented and skilled workforce. This approval therefore means businesses can continue to grant employee share options through the EMI scheme, safe in the knowledge that current tax advantages still apply.

The new approval runs until 6 April 2023 but it will be subject to the terms of the Brexit withdrawal agreement in due course. The final point of clarification we now await is to understand if the approval is retrospective so that it covers any options granted after 6th April, which we are hopeful it will.

EMI share scheme support

People retention is a challenge many business owners face. If you are looking for options to incentivise and retain key members of your team, then an EMI scheme may be the right thing to implement.  For more advice and support on employee share options, please contact your local office  and we will happily work with you to understand the most options for your business.


Want to know more about EMI employee share option schemes.  Find your local Haines Watts office and contact us.

About the author

Jennie Brown

Jennie heads up our Private Client team for the region, offering both advice and support on personal tax and wealth protection. After 10 years of working in a top 5 firm as a chartered tax advisor, she joined Haines Watts in 2013, bringing with her a wealth of experience across corporate and personal tax.

Upon completion of her A levels, to work in firms like Tollers and Barclays, both naturally giving good experience, supporting her career in tax.

She progressed from Manager to Director within the first few years of her career at Haines Watts and continues to develop a strong team.

Being passionate about growing a diverse team that can deal with both client’s compliance and advisory needs and keen to work directly with the owners of dynamic businesses, Jennie’s keen to ensure her client’s receive up-to-the-minute, insightful advice and support, whenever required, making them aware of action they need to consider as a result of government plans and changes. Jennie truly appreciates the importance of understanding her clients’ businesses in order to establish what’s important to them and always takes a holistic approach in aligning any tax planning with their personal goals and objectives.

Over the years, she’s developed particular specialisms within Inheritance Tax Planning, IR35 and the tax efficient structuring of Property Portfolios.

“Out of the office I enjoy spending time with family and circle of friends, who support my career ambitions and help me switch off every now and again which is really important. I have an absolute love of animals, having re-homed two dogs who keep me both on my toes and entertained (when they’re not chewing through my new shoes!).”

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