Tech companies that have a business plan of developing a new product, with the aim of an eventual trade sale or IPO exit, will be very familiar with EMI share options. These options give generous personal tax breaks, to help recruit, retain and reward middle management and key workers. Under generic EU principles, such tax breaks are classified as state aid, and are hence not permitted. However, there is a mechanism within the EU to authorise, and hence permit, such schemes and this has been the case for EMI since their introduction in 2009. This authorisation has just come up for review, and Brexit observers might be a little surprised to see it renewed.
This renewal requirement and process, interestingly termed a ‘prolongation’ by the EU, is just the sort of red tape that the UK is hoping to avoid post Brexit.