HMRC has now published templates of information that companies should record in order to comply with their eventual online filing responsibilities.

As we move into the era of online rather than paper filing of annual returns for all employee share plans, all companies will need to submit their first annual return for 2014/15 online through HMRC’s PAYE Online service by no later than 6 July 2015. As part of the online return, companies need to include an attachment containing supporting information.  HMRC has now published templates that can be used by companies throughout the year to gather supporting information and be submitted after the end of the tax year.

While companies can build their own templates for the purposes of supplying the supporting information required as part of the annual return, it would be safer to use the HMRC templates to ensure the correct format is used and there is no missing or incorrect information which could result in penalties being imposed.  It also makes sense to start using these templates as and when awards are now made.

Our previous Law Now ‘Employee Share Plans: Self-certification and the return of online filing’ can be accessed by clicking here.  Before annual returns can be submitted electronically, companies need previously to have registered to use the online service as well as have registered all relevant schemes (and self-certified tax favoured schemes e.g. CSOP, SAYE and SIP).

In addition, EMI options granted since 6 April 2014 now need to be reported electronically within 92 days of grant and to do this companies must have already registered online and notified the scheme beforehand.  In practice, therefore companies granting EMI options need to take action sooner than other companies.

Registration to use the service and of individual schemes, and where relevant self-certification, should therefore not be left to the last minute.

Click here for HMRC’s webpage with information on and links for the templates, forms and deadlines for all relevant activity.