As companies operating employee share plans will be aware, all new schemes and arrangements (whether tax-advantaged or not) must be registered and annual returns filed with HMRC by 6 July following the tax year in which they are established.

HMRC has recently made a minor update to its guidance on the procedure for receiving a scheme reference number as part of the registration process. If you are registering a new arrangement, you will receive your scheme reference number within seven days of telling HMRC about the arrangement. You need to log into HMRC’s employment-related securities online service to obtain the scheme reference number when it has been issued.

The deadline for registering schemes and submitting annual returns for the tax year ending 5 April 2020 is 6 July 2020. It is important that companies register any new schemes in good time to enable the scheme reference number to be generated so that annual returns can be submitted by the deadline.