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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 joined Haines Watts in October 2013 and is now Head of Private Client Tax for Haines Watts East with responsibility for leading the Private Client tax offering across the east midlands region, and ensuring that our clients have access to tax expertise and support at a time when the tax landscape is constantly changing.

Working with clients across all sectors Jennie’s role is to deliver pro-active tax solutions to both owner managed businesses and individuals looking to reduce their overall tax burden. She has developed particular specialisms within Inheritance Tax Planning and the tax efficient structuring of Property Portfolios.

Jennie qualified as a Chartered Tax Advisor while working for another large national accounting firm and has over 13 years’ experience working across a broad range of taxation matters including personal tax, corporation tax and employer solutions. Previous employers have included Grant Thornton, Barclays and Toller’s solicitors.

Jennie appreciates that tax can be quite a daunting subject, especially for newcomers to a business, and she prides herself on being able to explain complex areas of tax in such a way that clients are not blinded by jargon. She truly understands the importance of understanding her clients’ businesses in order to establish what is important to them and always takes a holistic approach in aligning any tax planning with her clients’ personal goals and objectives.

Out of the office Jennie enjoys socialising with friends and family and, in an attempt to keep fit, has recently taken up running.

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