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HMRC internal manual

Double Taxation Relief Manual

Non-residents: UK income: share option gains, phantom share option gains and bonuses

The words `salaries, wages and other similar remuneration’ in Articles of agreements dealing with employment income should be regarded as including -

  1. share option gains chargeable under ICTA88/S135;

  2. bonus payments such as those arising under phantom share option schemes and;

  3. share option gains chargeable under capital gains legislation.

Share option gains should usually be regarded as accruing evenly between the grant and exercise dates. If, subsequent to the date when the option was granted, the employee ceases to be a resident of the United Kingdom and becomes a resident of a state with whom the United Kingdom has a double taxation agreement, he may claim that part of the gain is exempt under the Article of that agreement dealing with employment income. 

Tax bulletin 55 publicised the Revenue’s approach in the most common circumstances. These are itemised in the following instructions DT1925A and 1925B. If a claim is received that is not on all fours with these, or when otherwise indicated, it should be referred to International Division, External Relations Group (Advisory).

At the start of 2002 the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was working towards reaching an international consensus on how share option gains should be taxed and double taxation prevented. Accordingly there are likely to be developments in this field over the following year or so.