EMI Share Option Schemes

Key facts: EMI share options solicitors

  • EMI share option schemes are a way of offering your employees the legal right to later purchase shares in the company with favourable tax treatment.
  • They’re popular with high-growth and high-risk companies, like tech start-ups, as a way to attract, reward and retain hard working staff right through to an exit (such as the company being sold).
  • Both the company and the employee must meet certain conditions to qualify for the scheme, or the tax benefits might not be realised. These criteria mean EMI schemes are an ‘approved’ share option scheme, as they require approval from HMRC to enjoy the tax treatment.
  • We can handle everything from checking whether your company and employees qualify, valuation, and designing the scheme rules, to drafting and amending any agreements, and registering and notifying HMRC.
  • EMI share options can be combined with a number of other share schemes, such as unapproved share schemes like growth shares or hurdle shares.
  • Check out our FAQs on EMI schemes for lots of useful information.

What we do

The Enterprise Management Incentive scheme (EMI) is designed to allow you to provide a share option scheme for your employees, with great tax advantages.

A company share option plan gives your employees the right to acquire shares in your company at a future date, but at a price that is fixed now. They’re intended to help you recruit and retain valued employees and reward them for investing their time and skills in helping to grow your business.

If the value of the shares increases over time after the grant of the options, employees may make significant gains.

Provided certain conditions are met, a company can set up an EMI scheme to grant share options worth up to £250k – without paying income tax or national insurance on exercise of the options.

On the sale of shares acquired as a result of an exercise of an EMI option, capital gains tax will be payable on the gain.

You can find out much more on our EMI FAQs page, which also contains a useful glossary of EMI terms.

Leaver provisions are a key element of how share options operate. Watch our corporate solicitor Jas Bhogal explaining how they can affect shareholders:

How Can Harper James Help?

Our expert commercial lawyers can help you set up an employee share scheme such as an EMI share plan for your employees. We will:

  • Establish that your company qualifies
  • Apply for advance clearance from HMRC that your company qualifies to grant EMI options
  • Design the EMI scheme rules and share option agreements
  • Agree a valuation of the EMI shares with HMRC
  • Review any pre-existing shareholders’ agreements and articles of association to check if any amendments are necessary, or if particular consents are required
  • Prepare board minutes and shareholder written resolutions
  • Make filings at Companies House
  • Report the grant of the EMI option to HMRC

Who we help

Watch our CEO Toby Harper explaining in this short video why EMI schemes can be a great option for high-growth businesses:

*prices correct at time of filming

​Request Free EMI Share Option Templates

We’ve provided a library of helpful template documents to help you get started with your EMI share scheme, at no cost to you.

Email me free templates

Why choose our EMI solicitors? Our experience

We’re a modern law firm with a difference. Our innovative remote operating model means that you can access expert City-grade legal advice from partner-level solicitors at a fraction of the cost of traditional law firms. Our solicitors have all been recruited from top 100 UK law firms or large international businesses. Find out more about our EMI scheme lawyers here:

Our three transparent pricing packages are designed to give you the widest possible access to high-quality legal advice, whatever the size and nature of your business:

City

Straightforward access to senior solicitors from £200 per hour.

An affordable solution for businesses needing one-off legal support. Receive 'City' partner-level expertise at a fraction of 'City' prices.

Enterprise

Have legal peace of mind for £189 per month with additional support from £99 per hour.

A monthly subscription legal support package specifically designed for start-ups and smaller businesses.

On-Demand

For businesses requiring 60+ hours of support a year, with prices equivalent to £99 per hour.

Fully account managed quarterly subscription service for businesses with more complex legal needs.

What next?

Please leave us your details and we’ll contact you to discuss your situation and legal requirements. There’s no charge for your initial consultation, and no obligation to instruct us. We aim to respond to all messages received within 24 hours.

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A national law firm

We mainly work remotely, so we can work with you wherever you are. But we can arrange face-to-face meeting at our offices or a location of your choosing.

Our commercial lawyers are based in or close to major cities across the UK, providing expert legal advice to clients both locally and nationally.

50-52 Newhall Street, Birmingham, B3 3RJ
Stirling House, Cambridge Innovation Park, Denny End Road, Waterbeach, Cambridge, CB25 9QE
10 Fitzroy Square, London, W1T 5HP
13th Floor, Piccadilly Plaza, Manchester, M1 4BT
Harwell Innovation Centre, 173 Curie Avenue, Harwell, Oxfordshire, OX11 0QG
2-5 Velocity Tower, 1 St Mary’s Square, Sheffield, S1 4LP

Our other locations

Immeuble Danica B, 21, avenue Georges Pompidou, Lyon Cedex 03, Lyon, 69486