Tax regime of a stock option

The granting of subscription rights under a stock option plan by virtue of or in connection with the beneficiary’s professional activity implies that the beneficiary receives a benefit in kind granted by the issuer of the subscription rights.

This benefit in kind constitutes taxable professional income for the beneficiary.

If the subscription rights are offered to the beneficiary in his capacity as a Belgian employee of the Company, the taxable benefit in kind is calculated in principle in accordance with the law of 26 March 1999 (hereafter the “Law”).

Specific condition of applicability :

In order for the statutory tax regime to apply, the beneficiary must accept the offer of subscription rights in writing no later than the 60th day after the date of the offer.

If the beneficiary has accepted the offer in writing no later than the 60th day after the date of the offer, the subscription right shall, for tax purposes, be deemed to have been granted on the 60th day, even if the exercise of the subscription right is subject to suspensive or resolutive conditions. A beneficiary who has not notified his acceptance of the offer of subscription rights in writing before the expiry of this period shall be deemed to have rejected the offer.

The taxable base of the benefit in kind granted is set at a flat percentage of the actual value of the shares (to which the subscription rights relate) at the time of the offer.

The value of the shares shall be their real value at the time of the offer, as determined by the offeror after binding advice from the auditor of the issuing company or, in the absence of such an auditor, by an auditor or accountant appointed by that company. In the case of shares representing capital, the value referred to in point 2° may not be less than their nominal value as determined by the latest annual accounts of the issuing company, approved by the competent body before the date of the bid.

The taxable benefit is fixed at a flat rate of 18% of the value as determined above. If the subscription right is granted for more than five (5) years from the date of the offer, the taxable benefit is increased by 1% of the said value, per year or part of a year, after the fifth year.

These percentages are reduced by half if the following conditions are met:

1° the exercise price of the subscription right is determined with certainty at the time of the offer;

2° the subscription right includes the following clauses:

– It may not be exercised before the expiry of the third calendar year following the year of the offer, nor after the expiry of the tenth year following the year of the offer;

– It may not be transferred inter vivos

3° The risk of a decrease in the value of the shares to which the subscription rights relate after the granting of the subscription right cannot be covered directly or indirectly either by the person granting the option or by a person who is interdependent on him;

4° The subscription right relates to shares of the company for the benefit of which the professional activity is carried out or to shares of another company in which the former has a direct or indirect interest within the meaning of the Royal Decree of 8 October 1976 on the annual accounts of companies.

For beneficiaries who fall within the scope of the law, the taxable benefit is therefore calculated as follows

Taxable benefit = amount of subscription rights granted x exercise price x [tbd] %.

This taxable base is then taxed at the progressive personal income tax rate applicable to the beneficiary of the subscription rights.

Any amount paid by the beneficiary to be granted the subscription rights is deducted from the amount of the taxable benefit.

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