Aspect share scheme trust struck down
A close company’s “facility” to enable employees to acquire shares in the company is a loan and subject to corporation tax, a tribunal ruled.
In Aspect Capital Ltd v HMRC  UKFTT 430 (TC) employees of the investment management firm Aspect Capital received shares via an employee benefit trust (EBT) that meant they did not have to pay for them immediately.
Aspect then paid the facility amount to the EBT trustee, less the stamp duty due, and the trustee transferred legal title to the shares to the relevant employee.
The facility agreement provided that no debt was created unless and until a contingency event occurred such as the employee leaving the company, law firm Pinsent Masons said in an analysis of the highly technical case.