SAYE option scheme

A type of employee share scheme (www.practicallaw.com/A35041) that meets the requirements of Schedule 3 of the Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003, referred to in ITEPA 2003 as a Schedule 3 SAYE option scheme. It isalso known as a sharesave scheme, save as you earn option scheme or savings related share option scheme. It provides for the grant of share options (www.practicallaw.com/0-107-6937). The exercise price can be set at up to a 20% discount to the market value at the time of grant.

Participation must be available to all employees, subject to a qualifying period of service which cannot be more than five years (and other employees may also be included). The grant of the option is conditional on the employee taking out a linked savings arrangement with a bank or building society to save up the option exercise price. Option holders save up to £500 per month from salary. Options are normally exercisable for six months after three or five years. Such schemes must be notified to HM Revenue & Customs (www.practicallaw.com/6-200-6399) (HMRC) and the company must certify that the scheme complies with Schedule 3 of the Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003.

For more information, see Practice note, Employee share schemes: an introduction: SAYE, Save as you earn, sharesave, or savings-related option schemes (SAYE) (www.practicallaw.com/9-107-4444).

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