Share Plans can appear to be complicated. However, in the right hands, they can usually be diluted down into simple, core principles.

The Fact Sheets here include the details on the most common types of “tax approved” Share Plans that can generate real savings for individuals and companies. In addition, our Fact Sheets also include details on some of the key areas that clients frequently ask us to deal with in respect of their Share Plans.

Growth Share Plan

Growth Shares are a special class of shares which participate in the growth in value of a company in excess of a predetermined threshold.

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Enterprise Management Incentives (“EMI”)

Enterprise Management Incentives (“EMI”) are tax-advantaged share options designed to help companies to recruit, retain and incentivise their key employees. EMI requires no upfront investment from employees and is easy to set-up and administer.

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Share Incentive Plan (“SIP”)

Share Incentive Plans (“SIPs”) enable employers to reward employees for acquiring and holding shares in the company. In addition, they can be used as a means of the company to reward the entire company on a tax efficient basis. SIPs can have valuable tax advantages and considerable flexibility to meet a variety of company objectives.

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Savings related share option scheme

A Sharesave or Save-As-You-Earn (“SAYE”) share option scheme combines a share option with a savings contract, so employees can save the funds to buy shares in their company. These plans have valuable tax advantages.

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Company Share Option Plan (“CSOP”)

A Company Share Option Plan (“CSOP”) is a discretionary share option plan which allows the company to grant options, up to a limit of shares worth £60,000. It can frequently be used alongside “unapproved” option plans in order to maximise tax savings for the individual and the company.

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Employee benefit trusts (“EBTs”) are discretionary trusts set up by employers for the benefit of their employees. The employer contributes, through gifts or loans, to the trustees which in turn make distributions to the beneficiaries of the trusts. Alternatively, the EBT may at as a “warehouse” for shares to and from employees.

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Entrepreneurs Relief

Entrepreneurs’ Relief is an important issue to understand as, used correctly, it can reduce the amount of capital gains tax (‘CGT’) payable on the disposal of certain business assets, including shares.

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Disguised Remuneration

Due to the potential misuse of EBTs in recent decades, legislation has been introduced in order to stop individuals and companies hiding salary and bonus payments. However, this “Disguised Remuneration” legislation can have unintended consequences and it is important for all commercial organisations to understand how it works.

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