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Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003

Section 526: Charge where option granted at a discount

2137.This section derives from section 185(6) and (8) of ICTA. Section 185(7) of ICTA which covers the capital gains tax consequences (relief against a double charge) is now in Part 3 of Schedule 7D to TCGA 1992 (see Schedule 7 to this Act).

2138.The section imposes a charge in the rare case that the total of any consideration given for the grant of the option and the amount payable on exercising the option is less than the market value of the shares at the time the option is granted. The option has to be granted at a price which is not manifestly less than the market value at that date (which is the rule in paragraph 22 of Schedule 4, formerly paragraph 29 of Schedule 9 to ICTA). Therefore this charge can only occur where there has been an agreement to fix the value earlier than the date of the grant or a mistake is made on the valuation.

2139.The language of subsections (2) and (4) reflects the new approach to expressing “charge”.

2140.In response to a suggestion made in the consultation process leading up to this Act, “the price” in subsection (1)(b) has been changed to “the amount payable” since price implies an amount payable per share. A further clarification has also been introduced. This is the reference to “the maximum number of shares” that can be acquired under the option, which specifies the number of shares in the frame in order to make the comparison required.

2141.The reference to the discount being earned income has been dropped, as this has no continuing effect.

2142.Under subsection (4), “knock-on” relief is given against further income tax charges on the same shares. This is a signpost only now; the way the relief is given is included in sections 194, 479 and 480.

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