Register your share schemes to avoid penalties

03 June 2015

Many small employers may be unaware that by 6 July 2015 they need to register all employee share schemes with HMRC and file online returns. It is important that employers and their agents take action as early as possible to ensure that everything is in place in good time before the deadline.

Employers who fail to implement these major changes by July face:

  • loss of the tax advantages expected by their employees if a scheme remains unregistered
  • penalties of up to £700 for a late return, with an extra £10 per day if the return is still outstanding after nine months
  • a penalty of £5,000 for a material inaccuracy in a return which is not corrected without delay.

The changes include:

  • online filing for all share scheme forms from April 2015, including Share Incentive Plans (SIP) and unapproved arrangements and
  • self-certification of Share Incentive Plans (SIPs), Save As You Earn (SAYE) schemes and Company Share Option Plans (CSOPs) from April 2014.

In order to register with HMRC, the employer will need to provide HMRC with basic information such as their company registration number and unique tax reference number. Once the business has registered, HMRC will provide a unique scheme reference number.

Schemes only need to be registered once. However, HMRC must be notified of specific amendments to scheme rules as part of the annual online return process.