Guidance

Employment Related Securities Bulletin 37 (October 2020)

Find out about Enterprise Management Incentive (EMI), Save as you Earn (SAYE) extended holiday and continued impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on employee share schemes.

Employment related securities bulletins give information and updates on developments relating to employment related securities (ERS), including the tax-advantaged employee share schemes.

HMRC publishes ERS bulletins when:

  • articles or updates are available
  • HMRC has any item to bring to your attention quickly

Any reference to Income Tax (Earnings & Pensions) Act 2003 (ITEPA) is to the current legislation as amended.

Enterprise Management Incentive (EMI)

In ERS Bulletin 36 we set out HMRC’s understanding in respect of EMI option holders who found they no longer met the working time commitments and told you that legislative changes were being made to support this.

The recent Finance Act modified existing legislation to ensure these EMI option-holders can maintain the tax advantages and reliefs, as if they’d continued to work for their employer as per their employment contract.

HMRC has exercised managerial discretion available to ensure this protection until the EMI working time declaration clause receives royal assent next year.

The modifications take effect from 19 March 2020 and are due to end in April 2021, but HM Treasury can extend the exception for a further 12 months if the pandemic has not ended by April 2021. The examples in ERS Bulletin 36 are still relevant.

Enterprise Management Incentive state aid

The EMI scheme will continue to be available for use following the end of the Transition Period (TP). These schemes were approved by the Commission as required under State aid rules. However, the schemes will continue to be available under UK law.

Save as you Earn (SAYE)

In June 2020 HMRC withdrew the old prospectus and issued a new one, to reflect the extended payment holiday were contributions are missed due to being furloughed or on unpaid leave during the coronavirus pandemic. You can find details in ERS Bulletin 35 and ERS Bulletin 36.

Although the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is ending on 31 October 2020, it is being replaced with the Job Support Scheme.

HMRC can confirm that employees working less than their usual hours and who will be eligible for the scheme will be treated as being part furloughed for the purpose of SAYE. For now the extended payment holiday will continue to apply to these participants who miss contributions whilst receiving payments under the Job Support Scheme.

Continuing review during COVID-19

HMRC continues to review the impact of coronavirus across all tax- advantaged share schemes and will provide updates when necessary.

HMRC’s contact details for share schemes enquiries

HMRC appreciates that many of the issues surrounding employment related securities and the coronavirus pandemic have caused concern to stakeholders, many of whom have contacted the share schemes mailbox. With the publication of this Bulletin and ERS Bulletins 35 and 36, we hope many questions will be answered.

You can find further information on available support for businesses at coronavirus (COVID-19) business support.

Due to the situation with the coronavirus pandemic there may be delays in post reaching this team. We recommend that you submit all enquiries by email to Shareschemes@hmrc.gov.uk.

If you need to disclose sensitive information, and have concerns about sending this by email, you should send a short email:

  • without any sensitive data
  • with details of how we can contact you

We’ll get back to you as soon as possible to arrange an alternative.

If you prefer to send enquires by post, our address is:

Charities, Savings and International 1
HMRC
BX9 1AU

Changes to HMRC email addresses

We’ve been making changes to our email addresses in HMRC. You may have noticed that instead of our email addresses ending in @hmrc.gsi.gov.uk, they’ll end @hmrc.gov.uk. Any emails that you send to our old email addresses will still redirect to us.

Contact HMRC about ERS Bulletins

If you have any questions, feedback or suggestions for future articles you should email: Shareschemes@hmrc.gov.uk.

Contacting HMRC for advice

Make sure you include the relevant share scheme reference number if you have one when you contact us about share schemes. If you haven’t provided the share scheme reference HMRC may not be able to respond to or answer your query.

You can find more information on how to identify your share scheme reference number in ERS Bulletin 25.

Published 27 October 2020