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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.

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