Enterprise management incentives (EMI) share option scheme

The best employee share option scheme currently available is the EMI share option scheme. In order to take advantage of this, both the company and employees must meet certain conditions. The company must carry on a qualifying trading activity and have a gross asset value of no more than £30 million. The employee or director must work at least 25 hours a week for the company and not hold more than 30% of the company’s shares at the time that the EMI options are granted. The main tax advantages of EMI share options are that provided the option price is set at the correct value there would be no income tax or national insurance when the option is granted or exercised. Furthermore, the employee will then usually benefit from CGT entrepreneurs’ relief which provides a 10% rate when the shares acquired under the option are eventually sold, such as on the sale of the business.

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