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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Operational Guidance

HM Revenue & Customs
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Supporting guidance: employer compliance guidance by subject: employment related securities: Schedule 4 Company Share Option Plan (CSOP): overview

A company must give notice of a Company Share Option Plan (CSOP) by 6 July, following the end of the tax year in which the first grant date falls (paragraph 28A to Schedule 4 to the Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003, see ETASSUM41130).

Where notice of the plan is made after this date, the CSOP will only be tax advantaged from the tax year in which the notification is made. Tax advantaged status cannot be given retrospectively. For example, the first grant date falls during 2014-15. The company must notify HMRC of the plan by 6 July 2015. If the company does not give notice until 31 January 2016, the CSOP is only tax advantaged from 2015-16.

HMRC can enquire into the CSOP:

  • to make sure the plan meets the legislative requirements
  • to check whether the plan has been operated in accordance with the plan rules.


Following declaration of the CSOP, the company must submit annual returns, including nil returns, for each year ending with the year in which the termination condition is met, see ETASSUM11700.