As the Indian government prepares to announce its annual budget, the startup community is eagerly waiting for the government’s stance on Employee Stock Option Plans (ESOPs). Shivam Singla, the founder of Leegality, a legal technology startup, has expressed his views on the pre-budget expectation and is urging the government to reform the taxation system on ESOPs. Speaking on the budget 2023 expectation, Singla stated, “ESOPs are a crucial tool for startups to attract and retain top talent.
The current taxation system, however, makes it difficult for startups to provide ESOPs to their employees.” Singla went on to explain that the current taxation system levies tax on the exercise of ESOPs, which means employees are taxed at the time of exercising their options. This, in turn, reduces the value of the ESOPs and makes them unattractive to employees.
Singla suggests that the government should consider changing the taxation system to tax ESOPs only at the time of sale instead of exercising them. He says, “This will make ESOPs a more attractive option for employees and will encourage startups to provide more ESOPs to their employees.”
“The Indian startup community is hopeful that the government will listen to their request and reform the taxation system on ESOPs in the upcoming budget. The reform would not only make ESOPs a more attractive option for employees but also help startups in attracting and retaining top talent,” he further added.