Legal briefing | |

Share Plan annual returns: a gentle reminder...


We appreciate that many companies have a lot to deal with in the current circumstances, but we wanted to remind you of your filing obligations if you operated an employee share incentive arrangement (whether tax-advantaged or not) in the 2019/20 tax year. 

So far, HMRC haven't given any indication that the filing date will be extended so we assume that returns must be filed online by the usual date of 6 July 2020 to avoid penalties (an initial penalty of £100 will be due if a return is just one day late).  Even if HMRC do end up giving companies more time to prepare, it is likely to only be for a relatively short period.  As the online returns process can be tricky and time consuming to navigate it is a good idea to file your returns as soon as you can. 


  • A new share incentive arrangement or plan has to be registered with HMRC before an online return can be submitted and to do this you need to have access to the HMRC PAYE online service.

  • If you aren't sure whether an arrangement or plan is already registered, you can check by going to the "view" tab in your online account. This will then list all the arrangements or plans that are registered to your PAYE reference number. Note that all your non tax-advantaged arrangements and plans can be incorporated within a single registration.

  • Once an arrangement or share plan is registered, you must submit a return even if there has been no activity (for example, no new grants) during the year.

  • With a few exceptions, the registration and filing requirement applies equally to acquisitions of shares and other securities (such as loan notes) by employees and directors that are not made under a formal set of plan rules.

  • In some cases, the sale of shares or securities by your employees and directors and the cancellation or exchange of awards may also require reporting, and you should seek legal advice if you are not sure whether this applies to your business.

  • HMRC will not send you a reminder to file your share plan returns.

  • You must ensure that the information provided in your returns is correct as HMRC may charge a penalty of up to £5,000 if a return contains a material inaccuracy.

For more information about the process for registering your share plans click here. For information about submitting your returns click here.

We would be happy to discuss your share plan filing requirements with you and answer any questions you may have about the process. Please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Travers Smith Incentives and Remuneration Group below.

For further information, please contact

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