PAYE implications of securities options
PAYE implications of securities options

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

  • PAYE implications of securities options
  • Occasions of charge and relevant dates
  • Amount of PAYE income—best estimate
  • Relief for employer's NICs met by employee
  • Best estimate—practical implications
  • PAYE and the remittance basis
  • Operating PAYE—cash payments
  • Operating PAYE—notional payments
  • Who must operate PAYE—employer or other payer?
  • Other payers—practical implications

Pay as you earn (PAYE) is the mechanism by which income tax (and National Insurance contributions (NICs) and certain other statutory deductions) must be withheld and accounted for to HMRC by employers (and other payers) in relation to certain payments of:

  1. employment income

  2. pension income, and

  3. social security income (together, PAYE income)

See Practice Note: Scope of the PAYE system.

PAYE income includes cash payments made to employees or directors (eg salaries, bonuses and termination payments). Non-cash payments are generally excluded from the operation of PAYE but a key exception to this is payments in the form of (or deemed to be in the form of) readily convertible assets.

Whether or not PAYE obligations arise upon acquisition of securities on exercise of an employment-related securities option depends on whether the securities in question are readily convertible assets. For full details on the meaning of readily convertible assets, see Practice Note: PAYE—readily convertible assets, intermediaries and jurisdictional scope. An important rule in this context is that all securities are deemed to be readily convertible assets (whether or not they would otherwise be so) unless they are shares that are corporation tax deductible.

Where consideration for the assignment or release of, or the receipt of a benefit in connection with, an employment-related securities option counts as employment income, PAYE obligations will arise if the whole or part of any

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