EB Summit: BT employees face potential CGT hit as share price spikes

BT faces a challenge of communicating to some employees their potential capital gains tax liability because its share price has increased dramatically since the sharesave scheme launched.

The scheme, which is due to mature in August, had an option price three years ago of 68p, compared to the current share price of around £2.15.

Addressing delegates at the Employee Benefits Pensions and Workplace Savings Summit 2012 on 9 March, Francis O’Mahony, head of employee share plans and share registration, BT UK said: “What I don’t want is an employee coming back to me and saying ‘why didn’t you tell me that I would have to pay [CGT] I have already spent the money on my daughter’s wedding or university education or the holiday of a lifetime,” he said.

The organisation’s 2011 employee survey showed that three quarters (73%) of BT employees who participate in a share scheme have said they are more interested in the organisation’s business performance.

BT offers several share schemes, including a sharesave with three and five year saving periods, partnership shares and a share incentive plan. It also offers free shares in 60 countries, executive plans, and a share purchase plan for employees in the US. The 2011 employee survey showed that 94% of employee shareholders were satisfied with the application process for the share schemes they are in.

Mahony said that clear communication was essential to successfully engaging employees with share schemes.
BT promotes its schemes in a number of different ways, including personalised emails, webcasts, podcasts and online discussions.

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