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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): Requirements relating to options: For retirement

Retirement is one of the good leaver terms within section 524(2B)(a)(i) ITEPA that allows for tax relief provided that exercise occurs within 6 months of cessation for this reason. Schedule 2 to FA 2013 removed the requirement (formerly at paragraph 35A) to include a specified retirement age in a CSOP scheme in order to obtain the tax relief.

There is no statutory definition of retirement and therefore the natural meaning of retirement is to apply. HMRC will not automatically apply meanings used for other tax purposes. For Schedule 4 CSOP purposes, where a company has a retirement policy or practice, companies should determine whether termination of employment constitutes retirement in accordance with their retirement policies and practices, where it does not have a retirement policy and it is considering retirement for the purposes of Schedule 4 CSOP participants it must be applied consistently for all of their employees. A cessation of employment should not be treated as retirement solely for the purpose of gaining tax advantages.

HMRC will not give rulings and does not expect retirement to be defined in the Plan rules.