HMRC has recently released template forms and guidance notes for making online annual returns for employee share plans, plus a form for notifying the grant of Enterprise Management Incentive options online (the former paper form EMI1). There are dire warnings that the templates must not be tinkered with in any way, otherwise they will be rejected.

You can if you like build your own spreadsheet form, but it must be essentially identical to the HMRC template to clear all the hurdles.

As we mentioned in our previous posts, there are still anecdotal reports of problems with even getting off the starting blocks in this process – registering with HMRC Online Services. So once again the take-home message is, if you want your options/awards to get the gold medal of tax advantages, make sure you start the process of registering your plans and filing the annual returns well before the 6 July finish line!