On 4 April 2018, HMRC announced that EU State Aid approval for the tax reliefs associated with a grant of EMI options was due to expire on 6 April 2018, leaving little or no time for those implementing such schemes to complete.
Whether grants made from 7 April 2018 onwards will continue to attract the tax advantages previously offered is not clear and, although it is expected that approval will be renewed by the EU Commission, it is not known whether that approval will have retrospective effect.
HMRC therefore advises that a grant of options prior to and including 6 April 2018 will not be affected but that those with pending grants of EMI options may wish to wait until approval has been given by the EU Commission, at some point in the future.
Unfortunately in the circumstances this would seem to be sensible advice, although one might wonder whether the failure to secure these reliefs prior to their expiry, bearing in mind the reliefs exist in UK legislation, is a breach of one of the duties of State. We would prefer not to test this theory!
The full text of the release can be viewed here.