The deadline for submitting annual returns in respect of employment-related security arrangements for the tax year ending 5 April 2019 is 6 July 2019. This is an important date to note, as late filing will trigger automatic penalties from HMRC and will have serious consequences for tax-advantaged plans.

Annual returns containing details of reportable events during the tax year must be submitted online to HMRC for all:

  • tax-advantaged plans (including enterprise management incentive, or ‘EMI’, options); and
  • non-tax advantaged employment-related securities arrangements (this is widely drawn and will broadly capture any shares if the right or opportunity under which they were acquired was available because of an office or employment).

Companies that have adopted new arrangements during the tax year ending 5 April 2019 are reminded that, in order to submit an annual return, it is necessary for the company to first register the “scheme” with HMRC’s online Employment Related Securities service. The registration process takes up to 10 days, so it is important to allow time for registration to enable companies to meet the 6 July deadline for filing annual returns.

Companies that operate tax-advantaged SIPs, CSOPs or savings related share option (SAYE) plans will also need to complete the important self-certification declaration as part of the annual returns process.

Further information on the registration and annual returns process, together with the templates to be completed and submitted with the annual returns, is available on HMRC’s Employment Related Securities service. Some practical points for companies to note include the following:

  • there are separate templates to use for each type of tax-advantaged plan, and the “Other” template should be used for arrangements which are not tax-advantaged;
  • if there has been no activity for a registered scheme in respect of the tax year then a nil-return should be filed; and
  • it is important to take screenshots of the information uploaded to HMRC, for the company’s records.