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HMRC internal manual

Employee Tax Advantaged Share Scheme User Manual

Schedule 3 Save As You Earn (SAYE) option scheme: Grant of share options - Consideration

A sum paid as consideration for the grant of an option cannot also form part of the exercise price to be paid for the shares themselves. The exercise price is fixed separately by reference to the market value of the shares at the date of grant, in accordance with paragraph 28 of Schedule 3.

It is unlikely that a SAYE scheme that required a participant to pay a cash sum for the grant of a share option would qualify as a Schedule 3 SAYE Option scheme as this would constitute a discouraging feature, potentially favouring higher paid employees. For the purposes of a Schedule 3 SAYE option, consideration will usually take the form of entering into a savings contract and complying with the obligations thereof.

It would not be accepted that an employee’s services, which he or she is already bound to give under their contract of employment, are also consideration for the granting of an option.