Employee share schemes have their own reporting regime called ERS online, which we outlined in our newsletter on 9 June 2016. The first year for which annual reports had to be submitted using ERS online was 2014/15.
To file the ERS report the employer, or tax agent, must submit a spreadsheet in a particular format. Templates are provided for the four tax advantaged share schemes (CSOP, SIP, EMI and SAYE), other arrangements or schemes under which employees have acquired shares must be reported using the “other employment related securities schemes” template.
The HMRC templates are in open document (ODS) format, so the employer has to download the right software to use them. HMRC say that the CVS format is acceptable if employer wishes to construct their own spreadsheets, but CVS spreadsheets often fail to submit. There have been problems with these spreadsheet templates since 2015, and this year the whole ERS online system has been down for some weeks.
As the statutory deadline for submitting the annual share scheme reports for 2016/17 is 6 July 2017, some employers are starting to panic. Late on 23 June HMRC released the June 2017 issue of the Employment-related Securities Bulletin, which revealed the ERS reporting deadline has been extended by concession to 24 August 2017. Penalties will apply if the share scheme reports are not received by this extended deadline.
HMRC emphasis that an annual report is due for every share scheme registered with ERS, even if there are no events in the year, in which case a nil report is required. Where the share scheme was closed in the year an annual report must still be submitted for that tax year.