The second modified finance bill for 2012 (n° 2012-958 of August 16, 2012) has modified the social regime applicable to stock options and RSUs.

The rate of the employer contribution due at the time of grant of options or RSUs, currently set at 14%, is raised to 30%. This increase applies to grants of options and RSUs made on or after July 11, 2012.

The rate of the employee contribution due at the time of the sale of the related shares is increased from 8% to 10%. This increase applies to disposals made on or after the day following the date of publication of the law, i.e., August 18, 2012.

In addition, the new law has ended the more favorable reduced rates of the employer and employee contributions (of 10% and 2.5%) for free shares, rates that were applicable, for the employer contribution, when the annual value per employee was less than a threshold equal to 50% of the annual social security ceiling or, for the employee contribution, when the total annual earnings of acquisition was lower than this same threshold.

Thus, the free shares are now liable to the normal rates of 30% and 10%, regardless of their amount.