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

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

  • The self-certification regime
  • Adopting a new plan
  • When does a company have to self-certify?
  • How is self-certification done?
  • Dealing with plans approved under the old regime
  • Registration
  • Annual reporting
  • Annual return requirements for amendments and adjustments
  • Enforcement
  • HMRC guidance

With effect from 6 April 2014, the process for establishing a tax-advantaged share plan (CSOP, SIP and SAYE) changed dramatically. This Practice Note looks at the system that was introduced in 2014 and discusses a number of other changes, in relation to the operation of such plans, brought about by the Finance Act 2014 (FA 2014).

Adopting a new plan

Previously, the rules of any new tax-advantaged plan had to be formally approved by HMRC and were typically the subject of some negotiation between HRMC and the company (or its advisers) before approval was granted. This process could be slow and expensive and the outcome was sometimes unpredictable

Since 6 April 2014, a company can simply adopt a new set of rules and make grants under it. The company then has to register the plan online and certify that it complies with the requirements of the legislation for tax-favoured plans. The onus has also shifted to HMRC to take action (see below) to demonstrate non-compliance (rather than the company having to demonstrate compliance). So the previous unpredictability which sometimes resulted from HMRC inspectors refusing to approve certain provisions in draft rules for reasons unconnected with the legislation has been eliminated. See below for the impact of HMRC's published guidance.

When does a company have to self-certify?

If a company