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Kvalificerade personaloptioner - Utmärkta för de unga företagen?

Tinglöv, David LU (2018) JURM02 20181
Department of Law
Faculty of Law
Abstract
In 2017, the Parliament of Sweden enacted a new set of rules in the Income Tax Act (sw: Inkomstskattelagen (1999:1229)) regarding the taxation of certain employee stock options (sw: personaloptioner), which came into force on January 1, 2018. These rules created a new category of employee stock options called qualified employee stock options. These new options are not taxable benefits when the market value of the instrument exceeds the remuneration the employee/option holder has paid to obtain it, in contrast to other securities (sw. värdepapper) and employee stock options. However, the options are not completely exempt from tax, instead they are subject to capital gains tax when the underlying asset is sold. In order to be exempt from... (More)
In 2017, the Parliament of Sweden enacted a new set of rules in the Income Tax Act (sw: Inkomstskattelagen (1999:1229)) regarding the taxation of certain employee stock options (sw: personaloptioner), which came into force on January 1, 2018. These rules created a new category of employee stock options called qualified employee stock options. These new options are not taxable benefits when the market value of the instrument exceeds the remuneration the employee/option holder has paid to obtain it, in contrast to other securities (sw. värdepapper) and employee stock options. However, the options are not completely exempt from tax, instead they are subject to capital gains tax when the underlying asset is sold. In order to be exempt from labour taxation when the option is acquired or exercised, an option has to fulfil legal requirements in order to be a qualified employee stock option. The purpose of this essay is to examine what constitutes a qualified employee stock option, by examining the delimitation between securities and employee stock options as well as examining the legal requirements an employee stock option must fulfil in order to be qualified, focusing on the rules of valuation and the rule on maximum ownership in the issuing company. The essay also analyses whether or not the new rules are compatible with the principles of equality and neutrality, two key principles in Swedish tax law in light of the purpose of the new rules.

The delimitation between securities and employee stock option differs depending on whether the option is a warrant (sw. teckningsoption) or a call option (sw. köpoption). Warrants keep their status as securities if the holder is able to realize a value equal to or exceeding the cost of the warrant, whereas call options lose their status as securities if the holder is not able to receive at least the market value of the option. The new set of rules do not change how the delimitation is made, but they have brought the term “employee stock options” into the letter of the law.

The rules of valuation of qualified employee stock options in Chapter 11 a, Section 13 of the Income Tax Act facilitate the valuation of these options in comparison to the valuation of other securities and employee stock options, as there are exact rules on how to value such options, thus avoiding the problems facing valuation of assets that are not publicly-traded. The rules focus on the circumstances when the qualified employee stock option is acquired, thus enabling the employee/option holder to predict the future taxation of exercising the option. The same conclusion can be made about the rules regarding maximum ownership in the company that has issued the employee stock option.

Lastly, the new rules are not in accordance with the principles of equality and neutrality as they treat both different people and different types of income differently. However, as the new rules serve their purpose, I conclude that they are a reasonable deviation from the aforementioned principles, although different valuation of different qualified employee stock options is not motivated. In addition to this, I also find that the distinction between securities and employee stock options should clarified, in order for the new rules to fully fulfil their purpose. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
1 januari 2018 trädde nya regler om beskattning av vissa personaloptioner ikraft. Dessa regler innebär att den förmånsbeskattning som sker vid förvärv av personaloptioner på förmånliga grunder på grund av anställning inte ska ske, om en rad villkor är uppfyllda. Dessa kvalificerade personaloptioner är dock inte helt skattebefriade, då eventuell kapitalvinst på de underliggande andelar som optionsinnehavaren har förvärvat vid utnyttjande av optionen kommer att kapitalvinstbeskattas enligt allmänna regler och eventuellt enligt fåmansföretagarreglerna. De nya reglerna står i centrum för detta arbete och arbetet syftar till att fastställa vad som konstituerar en kvalificerad personaloption genom att dels utreda gränsdragningen mellan... (More)
1 januari 2018 trädde nya regler om beskattning av vissa personaloptioner ikraft. Dessa regler innebär att den förmånsbeskattning som sker vid förvärv av personaloptioner på förmånliga grunder på grund av anställning inte ska ske, om en rad villkor är uppfyllda. Dessa kvalificerade personaloptioner är dock inte helt skattebefriade, då eventuell kapitalvinst på de underliggande andelar som optionsinnehavaren har förvärvat vid utnyttjande av optionen kommer att kapitalvinstbeskattas enligt allmänna regler och eventuellt enligt fåmansföretagarreglerna. De nya reglerna står i centrum för detta arbete och arbetet syftar till att fastställa vad som konstituerar en kvalificerad personaloption genom att dels utreda gränsdragningen mellan värdepapper och personaloptioner, dels genom att studera de krav som uppställs för att en personaloption ska vara kvalificerad. I arbetet läggs särskilt fokus på villkor om värdering av kvalificerade personaloptioner och krav på maximal ägarandel i utgivande bolag. Dessutom analyseras de nya reglernas överensstämmelse med likformighets- och neutralitetsprinciperna och i vad mån reglerna är en ändamålsenlig avvikelse från dessa principer.

Var gränsen går mellan värdepapper och personaloptioner skiljer sig åt baserat på vilken slags option gränsdragningen avser. Teckningsoptioner kan behäftas med mer omfattande förfoganderättsinskränkningar än köpoptioner. Teckningsoptioner behöver endast innebära att optionsinnehavaren trots förfoganderättsinskränkningarna har möjlighet att tillgodogöra sig ett värde motsvarande anskaffningsvärdet på teckningsoptionen för utgöra värdepapper, samtidigt som köpoptioner förlorar sin värdepappersstatus om förfoganderättsinskränkningar hindrar innehavaren från att tillgodogöra sig marknadsvärdet. De nya reglerna förändrar inte rättsläget i denna del, men sedan årsskiftet ingår begreppet ”personaloption” i lagtext till skillnad från tidigare.


Reglerna om värdering i 11 a kap. 13 § IL innebär att värdering av kvalificerade personaloptioner förändras i jämförelse med värdering av optioner i allmänhet, då det finns lagstadgade hjälpregler i lagrummets andra stycke om hur marknadsvärdet på en kvalificerad personaloption ska räknas ut. De lagkrav som anknyter till värdering av optionerna utgår dessutom från omständigheterna vid förvärvet snarare än vid utnyttjande av optionen eller avyttring av de förvärvade andelarna, vilket medför förutsebarhet för optionsinnehavaren. Samma bedömning får anses gälla
avseende kravet på maximal ägarandel i utgivande företag.

De nya reglerna är inte förenliga med likformighets- och neutralitetsprinciperna, då reglerna leder till olikformig behandling av såväl olika skattskyldiga som olika slags inkomster. Reglerna får dock sägas uppfylla sitt syfte: att skapa förmånliga beskattningsregler för små, unga och innovativa företag och får således ses som en ändamålsenlig avvikelse från de båda principerna. Detta motiverar emellertid inte att kvalificerade personaloptioner från olika slags företag olikbehandlas. Regler kring vad som är ett värdepapper respektive en personaloption bör därtill förtydligas, då skatteregler som ämnar styra de skattskyldigas beteende bör vara mer förutsebara än de gällande reglerna för gränsdragning. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Tinglöv, David LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Qualified employee stock options - excellent for newly-formed companies?
course
JURM02 20181
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
skatterätt, tax law, värdepapper, personaloptioner, förmånsbeskatting, employee stock options
language
Swedish
id
8941824
date added to LUP
2018-06-10 15:25:26
date last changed
2018-06-10 15:25:26
@misc{8941824,
  abstract     = {In 2017, the Parliament of Sweden enacted a new set of rules in the Income Tax Act (sw: Inkomstskattelagen (1999:1229)) regarding the taxation of certain employee stock options (sw: personaloptioner), which came into force on January 1, 2018. These rules created a new category of employee stock options called qualified employee stock options. These new options are not taxable benefits when the market value of the instrument exceeds the remuneration the employee/option holder has paid to obtain it, in contrast to other securities (sw. värdepapper) and employee stock options. However, the options are not completely exempt from tax, instead they are subject to capital gains tax when the underlying asset is sold. In order to be exempt from labour taxation when the option is acquired or exercised, an option has to fulfil legal requirements in order to be a qualified employee stock option. The purpose of this essay is to examine what constitutes a qualified employee stock option, by examining the delimitation between securities and employee stock options as well as examining the legal requirements an employee stock option must fulfil in order to be qualified, focusing on the rules of valuation and the rule on maximum ownership in the issuing company. The essay also analyses whether or not the new rules are compatible with the principles of equality and neutrality, two key principles in Swedish tax law in light of the purpose of the new rules.

The delimitation between securities and employee stock option differs depending on whether the option is a warrant (sw. teckningsoption) or a call option (sw. köpoption). Warrants keep their status as securities if the holder is able to realize a value equal to or exceeding the cost of the warrant, whereas call options lose their status as securities if the holder is not able to receive at least the market value of the option. The new set of rules do not change how the delimitation is made, but they have brought the term “employee stock options” into the letter of the law.

The rules of valuation of qualified employee stock options in Chapter 11 a, Section 13 of the Income Tax Act facilitate the valuation of these options in comparison to the valuation of other securities and employee stock options, as there are exact rules on how to value such options, thus avoiding the problems facing valuation of assets that are not publicly-traded. The rules focus on the circumstances when the qualified employee stock option is acquired, thus enabling the employee/option holder to predict the future taxation of exercising the option. The same conclusion can be made about the rules regarding maximum ownership in the company that has issued the employee stock option.
 
Lastly, the new rules are not in accordance with the principles of equality and neutrality as they treat both different people and different types of income differently. However, as the new rules serve their purpose, I conclude that they are a reasonable deviation from the aforementioned principles, although different valuation of different qualified employee stock options is not motivated. In addition to this, I also find that the distinction between securities and employee stock options should clarified, in order for the new rules to fully fulfil their purpose.},
  author       = {Tinglöv, David},
  keyword      = {skatterätt,tax law,värdepapper,personaloptioner,förmånsbeskatting,employee stock options},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Kvalificerade personaloptioner - Utmärkta för de unga företagen?},
  year         = {2018},
}