Employee Stock Ownership Plan. A trust established by a corporation for the allocation of some of its stock to its employees over time, intended to motivate employees, and often providing tax benefits to the company. Also called stock purchase plan.
Employee Share Option Plans can either be approved or unapproved for taxation purposes. A typical plan for a multi-national company may well be set up in an offshore centre and therefore be unapproved by any particular onshore taxation authority. For example, a multi-national corporation with employees in, say 20-30 countries may well decide to set up an unapproved scheme offshore. However, in certain circumstances, case law can provide that contributions to the scheme, which are utilised to buy shares in the sponsored equity company, may be tax deductible expenses in the books of that company.