• Global share plans and incentives

Global share plans and incentives

26 February 2021

Many companies understand how powerful employee share plans can be in incentivising and retaining employees, and in aligning the interests of employees with those of the company. With increased emphasis on global mobility compliance, it is increasingly important that share plans and incentives are designed so they are efficient and effective on a global level.

Expanding employee share plans internationally can, however, give rise to a number of difficult issues. Indeed, tax compliance, regulatory, and accounting requirements in multiple countries can be a major burden. When implementing global share plans and incentives, companies need robust systems in place to ensure that the programs are cost effective, well structured, incentivising to globally mobile employees, and compliant with all tax and regulatory requirements.

Global Equity services

Our approach is to understand your business and your goals and we have experience implementing global employee share plans to ensure they work for you. We work with our share plan specialists internationally to provide the full range of services to meet your UK and international needs related to your global employee share plan. Our international team of experts can provide a range of services, including: 

  • Assisting with employee share plan design, drafting and implementation;
  • Advising on tax implications of equity awards for both employer and employee;
  • Advising on corporate withholding requirements;
  • Payroll assistance and filings, often in conjunction with our Global Outsourcing payroll teams;
  • Tax, social security, and reporting assistance;
  • Assistance with expanding the plan in new countries;
  • Planning for corporate tax relief, where available;
  • Assisting with employee communications;
  • Consulting with administrators on changes in local tax law or other regulations.

Global equity mobility solution

In an increasingly globalised world, executive compensation decisions must be made with employee mobility in mind. The taxation of incentive compensation and equity awards may vary greatly depending on the type of award, the structure of the organization, the tax attributes of the recipient, and their location.

By using transaction data and cross-border travel information, BDO’s Global Equity Mobility Solution (GEMS) provides automated calculations of tax withholdings for an organisation’s mobile employees. This easy-to-read report integrates your data to provide location-specific income tax reporting and withholding information.

Global Equity Rewards app

BDO’s Global Equity Rewards app is free and covers the tax treatment of equity awards in over 35 key jurisdictions. You can build a matrix using the app for your personalised solution. Find out more here.

How we can help

If you would like more information about global share plans or if you have any other issues in relation to incentive arrangements for globally mobile employees, please contact your usual BDO contact.

BDO can advise on all aspects of the design and implementation of share and cash based plans. Our advice includes drafting and producing the relevant documentation, input on performance measures, exit planning, tax considerations, accounting, share valuation, communication and ongoing reporting obligations.