Share Schemes – Looking to the Future
2015 was a busy year in the world of share schemes and employee share ownership arrangements.
- the continued use of employee shareholder status as a means of incentivising key employees;
- the publication of a research report by HM Revenue & Customs reporting that growth share schemes are a genuine remuneration arrangement and that tax saving is not the primary motivation for implementing such a scheme. We await HMRC’s response to the outcomes of the research;
- court rulings in a number of significant cases, including one of particular note for football fans – Murray Group Holdings and others (Rangers FC), which related to the operation and funding of employee benefit trusts tax reliefs and liabilities;.
- new tax rules for shares and options held by internationally mobile employees; and
- the introduction of online filing arrangements for all types of share arrangements.
2016 looks to be just as interesting a year. So far, we are expecting:
- provisions in the Finance Act making minor changes in relation to Enterprise Management Incentive schemes and disqualifying events, and regarding reasonable excuses for late notification of Company Share Ownership Plans and Share Incentive Plans; and
- an appeal to the Supreme Court in the ‘Murray Group Holdings and others’ case, and to the Court of Appeal in two other significant cases (Scotts Atlantic Management Limited and others, and Tower Radio Limited).
More will come out as the year goes on.
Whilst these may be highlights for lawyers and can result in changes in the law that benefit our clients, we are conscious that times of change can suggest complication and be off-putting.
Share schemes and employee share ownership arrangements needn’t be complicated. We are seeing more use of smaller, simpler arrangements that are easy to understand and easy to explain to employees. All of that chimes with our role as straight-talking lawyers.
There is a share scheme solution to many corporate requirements, ranging from obtaining investment and growing your business, to retaining and rewarding staff and key employees, as well as providing a route to exit for business owners. The options are many and are worth exploring – you might find a perfect fit for your needs.
If you would like to have a chat about how they might work for you, just get in touch with one of our Share Schemes & Incentives team or with your usual MacRoberts contact.