Employee share scheme annual returns - Have you filed yours?

10 May 2019

Following the end of the 2018/2019 tax year, the deadline of 6 July 2019 for filing your employee share scheme annual returns is fast approaching.

HMRC require companies who have registered an employee share scheme to file an annual return for all registered schemes on or before 6 July each year. This includes both tax-advantaged share schemes such as EMIs, CSOPs, SIPs and SAYE and any non-tax advantaged or 'unapproved' schemes. 

As HMRC do not send out any reminders and there are automatic penalties for late-compliance, we recommend filing your online annual return without further delay. This can be carried out by the company directly or by any agents authorised to act on your behalf.

Birketts currently acts as agent for a number of share scheme administration clients to assist them to file annual returns on their behalf.

What needs to be done?

Annual returns should be filed using HMRC’s Employment Related Securities (ERS) Online Services which can be accessed via your Employer's PAYE online account.

Each employee share scheme requires a separate annual return. 

All 'reportable events' that have taken place in the last tax year must be notified to HMRC on the annual return. This includes:

  • the grant of new options
  • exercise of options
  • acquisition of shares
  • adjustment of options
  • surrender of options
  • changes to the restrictions on shares and disqualifying events, amongst other things. 

If you are in any doubt as to whether to report a particular event, you should seek further advice. 

In any event, even if there has not been any activity in the previous tax year, a 'nil return' should be submitted.

If you would like any advice regarding online submission of annual returns, please do not hesitate to contact either Kirsty Scripps or Lisa Hayward in our Employment Incentives Team. Law covered as at May 2019.