The self-certification regime
Produced in partnership with James Jaques and Mirit Ehrenstein of Linklaters

The following Share Incentives practice note produced in partnership with James Jaques and Mirit Ehrenstein of Linklaters provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • The self-certification regime
  • Overview
  • Registration
  • How is self-certification done?
  • How?
  • Who?
  • When?
  • What?
  • Dealing with plans approved under the old regime
  • Annual reporting
  • More...

The self-certification regime

This Practice Note looks at the procedure for establishing a tax-advantaged share plan, such as a company share option plan (CSOP), share incentive plan (SIP) and save as you earn (SAYE) scheme (a Qualified Plan). The procedure is slightly different for enterprise management incentives (EMI) plans and this is not discussed here. For further details on EMI schemes, see Practice Notes: How EMI schemes work and key features—advance assurance and EMI—notification of grant of options to HMRC.


If a company is eligible to offer a Qualified Plan (see Practice Notes: CSOP—qualifying companies and qualifying shares, SAYE—companies which qualify to operate an SAYE scheme and SIPs—qualifying companies and type of shares) and has a set of plan documents which complies with the legislation, it can simply start granting awards under it and those awards will potentially be eligible for the tax breaks under the legislation. There is no longer any requirement for advance approval of the plan from HMRC.

But, to get the tax breaks, the company must:

  1. register the Qualified Plan online, and

  2. certify that the Qualified Plan complies with the legislation and, if any grants have already been made, that they also comply with the legislation

Once registered, annual returns must be produced for the Qualified Plan—even in years in which there is no activity—until the Qualified Plan is terminated.


The first step is

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