| GES Clients & Friends Newsletter December 2013
Belgium Confirms Viability of Electronic Offer and Acceptance of Stock Options
In late 2013, the Belgian Ruling Commission published a tax ruling confirming that the offer and acceptance of stock options can be done electronically provided that the electronic process has “probative value.”
According to the ruling, an electronic process will be deemed to have probative value if:
The system offers all necessary guarantees with respect to the accurateness of:
(a) the identity of the beneficiaries to whom the offer of the options
(b) the data relating to the offer (including the date of the offer);
(c) the date on which the acceptance of the offer was expressed; and
(d) storage of the aforementioned data for 7 years or the implementation of the option plan (whichever is longer).
The data can be displayed in a reliable and alphanumerical manner for future reference; and
The beneficiary’s decision to accept or refuse the offer within 60 days cannot be modified after the 60th day following the offer.
Previously, the relationship between electronic offer and acceptance procedures for stock options and the firmly-established tax rules providing that stock options accepted in writing within 60 days of the offer are taxable at the time of grant was unclear.
However, despite its limited precedential value (tax rulings in Belgium can be relied upon only by the applicant), the ruling provides helpful insight into the Belgian Ruling Commission’s current thinking on the issue.
Companies seeking to utilize an electronic offer and acceptance process for stock option grants to employees in Belgium should contact their GES attorney for further guidance on whether its electronic procedures meet
the conditions referenced by the Belgian Ruling Commission.
For more information:
• Narendra Acharya
• June Anne Burke
• Edward Burmeister
• Valerie Diamond
• Denise Glagau
• Sinead Kelly
• Barbara Klementz
• Aimee Soodan
• Alison Wright
• Brian Wydajewski
Learn more about our
Global Equity Services Practice