Enterprise management incentives

By Tolley

The following Corporation Tax guidance note by Tolley provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Enterprise management incentives
  • Summary
  • EMI requirements and definitions
  • Disqualifying events
  • Implementation of an EMI scheme
  • Tax treatment for the individual
  • Tax treatment for the company


The enterprise management incentive (EMI) scheme is a tax-advantaged share option employee incentive scheme aimed at small entrepreneurial companies that meet certain conditions. It is designed to assist such companies in recruiting and retaining high quality employees.

The scheme offers attractive opportunities for equity participation by employees in recognition of the fact that smaller companies may not be able to match salary levels paid elsewhere. The EMI scheme is also flexible enough to allow for the options to be geared to future capital growth and performance targets. As long as the options remain qualifying for EMI status, the employee should be able to take advantage of income tax and National Insurance reliefs.

EMI requirements and definitions
Eligible employees

The selection of EMI option holders is largely left to the employing company, although some basic conditions apply. Any individual can be eligible provided he:

  • is an employee of the company, or of a subsidiary company, granting the options
  • works at least 25 hours a week for the company or group or, if less, 75% of his ‘working time’ (ETASSUM53020)
  • does not have a ‘material interest’ in the company or, if the company is the parent of a group, a material interest in any of the group companies

ITEPA 2003, Sch 5, paras 24–33

EMI was extended to include academics employed by a qualifying company from April 2013.

An individual has a material interest if his shareholding and unexercised share options, together with those of his associates, exceeds 30% of the ordinary share capital of the company. The meaning of associate for these purposes is given in ITEPA 2003, Sch 5, para 31. See ETASSUM53060.

ITEPA 2003, Sch 5, paras

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