HMRC extends deadline for employee share plan returns

Out-Law News | 27 Jun 2017 | 10:09 am | 1 min. read

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has extended its deadline for companies to file year-end employment-related securities (ERS) returns to 24 August after problems with its online service.

In a recent ERS bulletin, HMRC said due to “recent problems” encountered by companies using the service it had extended the deadline for the 2016/17 tax year from 6 July to 24 August.

The deadline was also extended in 2015 after the introduction of the scheme when the online filing system failed.

Share plans expert Suzannah Crookes of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said: “It is unfortunate that there have been further problems with the online filing regime for the 2016/17 tax year. However, companies which have not yet filed returns will welcome the pragmatic approach taken by HMRC in offering this extended deadline.

“HMRC have acted swiftly to notify employers of the extended deadline through publication of an ERS bulletin,” Crookes said. “This is helpful as communication has on previous occasion been via professional bodies and may not have reached those employers who do not receive updates from these bodies.”

Late returns attract penalties, with a penalty of £100 issued on 25 August if returns are not filed by that date. An additional automatic penalty of £300 will be issued if the return is still outstanding three months after the original 6 July deadline, followed by a further £300 penalty six months after that date. HMRC said daily penalties of £10 could be charged if returns were still outstanding nine months after 6 July.

Companies must register all of their share plans or other employee share arrangements via the ERS online service, and tax-advantaged plans (CSOP, SIP and SAYE) must be "self-certified" in order to secure the relevant tax advantages.  Annual returns (including nil-returns) are then required for any schemes registered on the ERS online service, with plan-specific returns for CSOP, SIP, SAYE and EMI arrangements, and the "other" return for all non-tax advantaged schemes or awards..

The e-filing regime was introduced in 2015 and replaced previous paper filing.