Changes to the CSOP scheme

The government is introducing two changes to the Company Share Option Plan (CSOP) scheme, effective from 6 April 2023, announced as part of the government's 'mini budget' last week:

  1. the maximum value of options that can be awarded to each employee under a CSOP scheme will double from £30,000 per employee (based on the market value at grant) to £60,000; and
  2. an easing of the restriction on share classes over which CSOP options may be granted by scrapping the need for options to be over a share class that is "worth having". This restriction had meant that CSOPs could only be granted over shares that were either majority-held by outside investors or that were giving employees control of the company. Removing this requirement brings the CSOP scheme closer in line with the Enterprise Management Incentive (EMI) regime rules and so means that more high-growth companies may now be able to make use of CSOPs.

These changes will be introduced as part of a broader Finance Bill, and we expect further guidance to be published in the coming months.

For more on the Government's 'mini budget' announcement, see our briefing here and the government's Growth Plan 2022 documents.

SAYE bonus rate mechanism review

HMRC previously announced its intention to review the SAYE bonus rate mechanism (see our briefing here). HMRC has provided a progress update in its Employment Related Securities Bulletin 45, stating that it will now begin engaging with industry experts to gather their views on the available options.

HMRC confirmed that bonus and interest rates on SAYE contracts will remain at 0% whilst the review continues.

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