EMI options can be granted by independent trading companies with gross assets not exceeding £30 million.
Options over shares with an unrestricted market value (UMV) at the date of grant up to £250,000 (including any amount granted under a Schedule 4 CSOP) can be granted. The £250,000 limit applies from 16 June 2012; prior to that date, the individual limit was £120,000. There will normally be no income tax or NICs when the options are exercised.
There is no approval process or clearance mechanism for EMI, but a simple requirement on companies to notify HMRC within 92 days of when an EMI option is granted. In addition there is also an annual reporting requirement.
A company can request an advance assurance that it meets the qualifying conditions.