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HMRC internal manual

Employee Tax Advantaged Share Scheme User Manual

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Schedule 4 Company Share Option Plan (CSOP): General requirements: Advance payments of exercise price

Requiring option-holders, at the date of grant, to make advance payments of part of the exercise price of their options, may be an unacceptable feature, which does not meet the requirements of Schedule 4. If it can be shown that it is aimed primarily at securing a greater initial commitment from them (rather than as a means of improving the company’s cash flow position) then it may be acceptable. But if such a payment is not to be viewed as consideration for the grant of the option itself, it must be clear that the payment is refundable in full when the option lapses or ceases to be capable of exercise.

The company must ensure that such a payment is NOT “consideration for the grant” or a “condition of grant” and does not therefore constitute an unacceptable feature.