Stock-options : a new system was adopted
The amendment was voted last night by the deputies. However, it will only be about the options to buy allocated from April 27th 2000.
The left has broken a taboo. The stock-options will be perpetuated in France. This is one of the positive points the commentators have borne in mind about the compromise that was adopted on Wednesday April 26th by the majority of the PS deputies between the 'Fabius line' and the 'Emmanuelli trend'. The PS deputies had finally come to an agreement about the new fiscal structure. It was adopted in the night between Thursday 27th and Friday 28th, in the scope of the law on the new regulations. However, there was a surprise : it will only be applied to the options to buy allocated from April 27th 2000. Thus as the minimum deadline of four years is required between the allocation of the options and the real purchase of the shares, the measures that have been taken, will not have any effect before late April 2004.The new measuresHere are the main changes : the taxation increases from 40% to 50% for the surplus over 1 million francs, after a four-year holding (this level was about 5 years before). However, the rate can go back to 40% if the shares are still held during 2 years over the holding level (actually six years, that is to say one year more than before to benefit by the same rate). Second point : the rate decreases by 26% (it is the tax rate applied to the surplus of the shares) for the surplus below 1 million francs.It deals with a decrease that the analysts have hardly put forward till now, but that seems to be very favourable to the start-ups, all the more because the option system that is peculiar to them, is perpetuated. Thus, to manage to recruit on equal terms facing the big groups, the start-ups will be able to allot stock-options to their salaried employees more easily. Here is the rule : if the wages they provide are lower, on the other hand, the co-workers will be able to be financially associated to a success or to a profitable resale of the company.PapersThis morning, what have papers thought about the new system that is meant to be especially for the firms of the new economy ? A slight fiscal hardening but a great step toward the stock-options, Pascal Riché has underlined in Libération that has run as a headline 'The left wing forgets about a taboo'. 'On one hand, the tax rate on quick wealth increases, allowing to give a token to the plural left, on the other hand the usefulness of the stock-options for the economy is acknowledged. More generally, the idea that the shareholding for salaried employees is not a devilish idea, is accepted. Finally, the left has changed.'In 'La Tribune', Philippe Mudry has said it is a 'fortunate compromise'. He has noticed that 'first, from a technical view point, the only case in which the tax rate increases, is about the surplus over 1 million francs a year on options transferred less than two years after the unavailability deadline. But he has also noticed there is a compensation that, finally, the first reactions have hardly borne in mind : 'the tax rate is significantly lightened for the surplus below 1 million francs made after a six-year holding, while the system of options, peculiar to the start-ups, is perpetuated.' He has slightly concluded as Libé : 'It is a main doctrinal evolution for a party that was born with the salaried class, that has always made itself the herald of it, but that has been learning a lesson of the evolution of capitalism, under the pressure of the new economy.On the other hand, Le Figaro Economie has run as a headline : 'A measure on the wrong way'. Marie-Laetitia Bonavita has especially borne in mind the increase in the tax rate for the surplus over 1 million francs. She has underlined : ' At the level that is held, the decision has not brought down the handicap of the French firms, facing their foreign competitors, to recruit the high-skilled managers.' However, an other article about the topic has run as a headline : 'The creators of start-ups are rather satisfied'. The new economy representatives who were interviewed, put forward the fact that the level of 1 million francs was high enough 'so as not to penalize the huge majority of the salaried shareholders'. On Friday April 28th, the so British Financial Times described the compromise that was adopted as a 'lame compromise'.