Anyone involved in managing a global stock plan knows that keeping tabs on requirements for all of the various jurisdictions where there are stock plan participants can be both time consuming and challenging.
With ease of access to information in mind, our flagship NASPP Country Guides are a must visit when tackling questions about country-specific requirements. Each guide is authored by practitioners in local jurisdictions around the world and subject matter edited by Louis Rorimer (Retired Partner, Jones Day) and Shoshana Litt (Counsel, Jones Day), both based in the US.
Each country guide features in depth analysis of local regulations, including taxation, exchange controls, securities, labor, data privacy and other local laws.
It takes a significant effort to author each guide – so much that we’ve been recognizing a contributing author each year for their efforts in producing such in depth, quality content for our NASPP members.
This year, our Country Contributor of the Year Award goes to a team of contributors who authored our France Country Guide. I don't know about you, but I am thrilled to have something positive to celebrate, and handing out an award definitely fits the bill.
Please join me in (virtually) applauding Linda Hesse, Florent Bouyer, Emmanuel de La Rochethulon, and Oliver Haas of Jones Day in Paris for their diligence and dedication in providng this valuable resource. If your equity plans have made it to France, or a rollout is on the horizon, you’ll want to check out the France Guide, updated in 2020.
Bonus: One of my favorite accents to the guides is an editor’s preface that paints a “lay of the land” picture of the local landscape - with insights that may not be apparent from simply reading a set of requirements.
Here’s editor Shoshana Litt's preface note for France:
The main thing to know about stock plans in France is the effect of the French social security system. The rate of social security contributions extracted from employers is one of the highest in the world. Especially when applied to unpredictable stock plan gains, this strikes Americans as exorbitant. Various tax advantaged French stock plans have historically provided some relief from social security taxes, but the social insurance surcharge for employers, introduced in 2007, often fluctuates, and legislation is periodically enacted that makes one question whether qualified plans are worth the administrative effort for arguably minimal tax benefit, particularly when the applicable tax rates depend on when the underlying equity plan was adopted. This combination of circumstances leaves the present complicated and the future uncertain.
Nevertheless, if you decide to follow one of the favored regimes, not only will your employees pay income taxes at a preferred rate, but you as the employer will escape a decent portion of the social security contributions. This means that it is critical to decide whether or not to design your plan to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the French tax system. This is no small undertaking, but the tax savings could make up for the extra effort and create some additional goodwill among your French employee population.
Tip: In a hurry? Sometimes questions come up on the fly, and a quick analysis is needed. Each Guide is accompanied by a “Summary Table” that covers must-know information. Check out France's Summary Table to get an idea on format.
The NASPP's Research Center contains dozens of country guides, including guides for Argentina, Ireland, Singapore, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
To view any guide, simply visit the “Countries” section of our Research Center. Newly updated this week: Belgium's Summary Table.
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