Just a quick reminder that the deadline for making annual returns for UK share schemes relating to the 2015/2016 tax year is 6 July 2016. For tax-advantaged share schemes:

  • share incentive plans (otherwise known as SIPs);
  • company share option plans (CSOPs);
  • savings-related share option schemes (SAYE/Sharesave); and
  • Enterprise Management Incentives (EMI),

if a new scheme has been used to grant options/make awards in the tax year, it must be registered online with HMRC by the following 6 July and an annual return made online every year thereafter. This is the case even if it is only a “nil return” indicating that no events (such as grant/award or exercise/release) have occurred during that tax year.

For non-tax-advantaged plans, there is no need to register the plan until after a taxable event (such as exercise or release of shares) has occurred, but annual returns are required after that.

There are automatic fines for failure to file within the time limit, unless a company has a “reasonable excuse” for making a late return, a new concession that is available for returns made on or after 6 April 2016.

HMRC has recently published information about compliance checks for the tax-advantaged share schemes.