User testing to improve 2015-16 share scheme returns ? are you ready to file and willing to help?

05 April 2016

HMRC are also looking for some customers who would be willing and able to upload either an EMI or Other template and file as soon as the service goes live on 6 April. This would enable them to track your submission through the service and ensure there are no issues. If you feel this is something you would be able to help us with, again, do please get in touch with HMRC ERS team via email.

Following the technical difficulties encountered last year by the ERS service, HMRC have been working hard to make improvements to the service. These improvements are being user tested thoroughly to avoid further problems as customer look to file 2015-16 annual returns.

User testing is vital to ensure that the system that is designed is fully fit for purpose and useful to customers, who will use the service, when they come to submit a live return. During research customers won’t be asked to submit live data. If you would like to support this work and be involved with the user testing please contact the ERS team by email.

As part of this work, HMRC will be releasing the returns service in stages and have prioritised the schemes and file formats most commonly used for release first. As at the 6 April the service will accept submissions of EMI (Enterprise Management Incentives) returns in .ods format and submissions for ‘Other’ (non-tax advantaged arrangements) in .ods format.

Submissions of SIP (Share Incentive Plan), SAYE (Save as You Earn) and CSOP (Company Share Option Plan) returns in .ods, and those in the less widely used .csv format, will be accepted a few weeks later around the end of April 2016.

If you create your own CSV files using the published technical guidance, which is recommended if you have more than 10,000 lines of data, then these will not be accepted online until the end of May 2016. You can however and in the meantime, check your CSV files for formatting errors using the Employment related securities (ERS) checking service.

Customer filing patterns

In line with other taxes, the majority of customers choose to file towards the end of the filing period with 80% filing in June 2015 for the 6 July deadline. As a result it is anticipated that the impact of the reduced service during April and May will be minimal.

An Employment Related Securities Bulletin – issue 22 can be viewed on the GOV.UK website.

The templates for 2014-15 will be withdrawn from 6 April. Any companies that still need to submit a 14-15 return can do so on the 15-16 template, selecting the relevant return year within the service.