EMI—requirements for options
EMI—requirements for options

The following Share Incentives practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • EMI—requirements for options
  • The purpose test
  • A right to acquire shares
  • EMI—options must take the form of a written agreement
  • Shares over which an EMI option may be granted
  • The EMI option must be capable of being exercised within ten years
  • Prohibition on transfer
  • Limits on EMI options
  • Overall limit
  • Individual limit
  • More...

EMI Review: In the Spring Budget 2020, the government announced that it will review the EMI scheme to ensure that it provides support for high-growth companies to recruit and retain the best talent so they can scale up effectively, and to examine whether more companies should be able to access to the scheme. This suggests that the government may be considering less restrictive eligibility criteria for companies who wish to offer an EMI scheme, therefore potentially increasing the number of companies who qualify to operate EMI schemes. See News Analysis: Spring Budget 2020—Tax analysis.

The enterprise management incentives (EMI) scheme is a highly flexible and tax-efficient scheme designed specifically for small/medium-sized businesses.

The EMI regime is prescriptive and sets out numerous requirements that must be met at the time the options are granted, including in relation to:

  1. the company granting the options

  2. the employees that are being granted the options

  3. the shares being placed under option, and

  4. the options themselves

This Practice Note focuses on the conditions that must be met for the options themselves to qualify as EMI options. It assumes that all other eligibility criteria have been met. These conditions are described in the context of the income tax relief provided for in sections 527–541 of the Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003 (ITEPA 2003).

For details of the other conditions, see Practice Notes:

  1. EMI—qualifying

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