Business Legal Services

EMI Share Options: Explore an EMI Share Option for Your Employees

EMI share options and legal advice

Enterprise Management Incentive (EMI) share options are designed to allow you to provide share options to your employees, with great tax advantages. Shares are 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).

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 to each employee/director – without paying income tax or national insurance on the exercise of the options.

We can handle everything from checking whether your company and employees qualify and valuing your shares (and agreeing the value with HMRC), to planning and drafting share scheme rules and award agreements, as well as registering the plans with, and notifying options to, HMRC, all for as little as £125 per hour.

Find out more


How can we help you set up an EMI scheme?

Our expert employee incentive lawyers can help you through every step of setting up an EMI scheme. We will:

Establish that your company qualifies for a share option scheme (and if not, find an alternative approach to qualifying or creating an EMI option)

Apply for advance clearance from HMRC that your company qualifies to grant EMI options

Design and draft the EMI scheme rules and share option agreements

Agree on a valuation of the EMI shares with HMRC

Review any pre-existing shareholders’ agreements and articles of association agreed upon to check if any amendments are necessary, or if particular consents are required for the scheme

Prepare board minutes and shareholder written resolutions

Make filings at Companies House

Report the grant of the EMI option to HMRC

Advise you how to run the share scheme, help you with annual HMRC reporting, etc. if you wish

Testimonials

What our clients say

Harper James is a brilliant example of a company disrupting a traditional industry. Suddenly Solicitors become relevant and accessible for start-ups & small enterprises, with the best in-class knowledge of all major legal areas. I’ve used the business now for a year, and the Enterprise plan has been perfect for budgeting my company’s outgoings, and has given me a piece of mind when tackling key, decisive issues. Thank-you HJS!
Koral Ibrahim Founder & MD, The Ready House
Harper James solicitors don’t speak in the legalese which I have heard too many times from other solicitors and which is totally unhelpful. What I’m after is focused, considered advice about the specific situations that I face. By which I mean, do you think this is a good idea? Their response might be ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. One word is often all I’m looking for! My solicitor gives a view and I really value that.
Tom Davenport MD & Co-Founder, Alvius
For us, the support of Harper James Solicitors has been a gift. The collaboration we have had has been of tremendous importance. The service has been superb value for money.
Iraklis Bourantas COO, Novoville
Harper James have been incredibly professional and responsive. They immediately understood the challenges we have. Not only those of any small business, but those relating to building a piece of complex tech, and they have been able to help us navigate that from a legal perspective.
Alastair MacGregor Founder, Do IT
Over the years Harper James have helped us navigate complex legal issues and red tape, providing distilled options and legal consultancy that far exceeds the service levels we’ve previously experienced from more traditional law firms. The team act like our own in-house counsel so, regardless of which lawyer we work with, we feel supported and that they truly have our best interests at heart.
Michael Edwards Co-Founder, Inspire Group
The on-demand service we get from Harper James allows us to combine their expertise with that of our own in-house counsel. It means we can get quick and trustworthy legal advice from specialists in every legal area, as and when we need it. There are no hidden extras and the service we have received has always demonstrated an awareness of our fast-moving commercial requirements.
Amelia Guilfoyle Head of legal, Zoopla
Harper James is a brilliant example of a company disrupting a traditional industry. Suddenly Solicitors become relevant and accessible for start-ups & small enterprises, with the best in-class knowledge of all major legal areas. I’ve used the business now for a year, and the Enterprise plan has been perfect for budgeting my company’s outgoings, and has given me a piece of mind when tackling key, decisive issues. Thank-you HJS!
Koral Ibrahim Founder & MD, The Ready House
Harper James solicitors don’t speak in the legalese which I have heard too many times from other solicitors and which is totally unhelpful. What I’m after is focused, considered advice about the specific situations that I face. By which I mean, do you think this is a good idea? Their response might be ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. One word is often all I’m looking for! My solicitor gives a view and I really value that.
Tom Davenport MD & Co-Founder, Alvius
For us, the support of Harper James Solicitors has been a gift. The collaboration we have had has been of tremendous importance. The service has been superb value for money.
Iraklis Bourantas COO, Novoville
Harper James have been incredibly professional and responsive. They immediately understood the challenges we have. Not only those of any small business, but those relating to building a piece of complex tech, and they have been able to help us navigate that from a legal perspective.
Alastair MacGregor Founder, Do IT
Over the years Harper James have helped us navigate complex legal issues and red tape, providing distilled options and legal consultancy that far exceeds the service levels we’ve previously experienced from more traditional law firms. The team act like our own in-house counsel so, regardless of which lawyer we work with, we feel supported and that they truly have our best interests at heart.
Michael Edwards Co-Founder, Inspire Group
The on-demand service we get from Harper James allows us to combine their expertise with that of our own in-house counsel. It means we can get quick and trustworthy legal advice from specialists in every legal area, as and when we need it. There are no hidden extras and the service we have received has always demonstrated an awareness of our fast-moving commercial requirements.
Amelia Guilfoyle Head of legal, Zoopla

EMI share option schemes and legal advice: more information

EMI share option schemes are a way of offering your employees a legal right to later purchase shares with very favourable tax treatment. The value an employee can realise will increase in proportion to any growth in the value of the shares after the option is granted, so this is an ideal way to align employees’ interests with the company’s/shareholders’.

An EMI option is subject to an overall maximum limit of £3M worth of shares under options at any time. On the sale of shares acquired as a result of an exercise of an EMI option, any increase in the value of the shares will be treated as a capital gain and capital gains tax may be payable on the gain (subject to the availability of various exemptions and reliefs). The company should also benefit from a corporation tax deduction when the EMI options are exercised equal to the value in the options at the date of exercise.

EMI share options can be combined with a number of other types of non-tax advantaged share insentives like unapproved share options or growth shares/hurdle shares.

You can find out much more regarding option shares by simply visiting on our EMI FAQs page, which also contains a useful glossary of EMI terms.

Why choose our EMI solicitors?

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 employee incentives lawyers here:


Pricing plans

Legal support designed
to fit your business needs

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 at a competitive rate.

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

On-Demand

Providing you with priority access to a dedicated panel of highly experienced solicitors.

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.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Your data will only be used by Harper James Solicitors. We will never sell your data and promise to keep it secure. You can find further information in our Privacy Policy.

Our offices

A national law firm

A national law firm

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

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.

Floor 5, Cavendish House, 39-41 Waterloo Street, Birmingham, B2 5PP
Stirling House, Cambridge Innovation Park, Denny End Road, Waterbeach, Cambridge, CB25 9QE
13th Floor, Piccadilly Plaza, Manchester, M1 4BT
10 Fitzroy Square, London, W1T 5HP
Harwell Innovation Centre, 173 Curie Avenue, Harwell, Oxfordshire, OX11 0QG
2-5 Velocity Tower, 1 St Mary’s Square, Sheffield, S1 4LP
A national law firm

To access legal support from just £125 per hour arrange your free no-obligation initial consultation to discuss your business requirements.

Make an enquiry