The dog ate my share plan return and other excuses

If you’re running a share plan for employees, you must submit your annual share scheme return on HMRC’s online system by 6 July 2018. If you don’t, fines will likely apply.

HMRC are not known for accepting excuses for late filing. Here are some recent excuses that taxpayers used – with very limited success:

  • I was in hospital for 3 months with a very serious illness – HMRC dropped the fines for late filings while the taxpayer was actually in hospital, but stuck with the original fine for the original missed deadline which was prior to the hospital visit.
  • But I sent you the documents! – Fines upheld. If you can’t prove you’ve sent them, then in HMRC’s eyes they’ve not been sent. This works for the online system too – take screenshots!
  • My accountants variously disappeared, became ill and died. – Fines upheld. Relying on someone else is not a reasonable excuse – your returns are your responsibility.
  • I was made redundant and became homeless. – HMRC let him off for one tax year but their sympathy ran out shortly after he was back in fixed accommodation.

HMRC do not send reminders to file a share plan return but they will issue automatic penalties for failure to file on time. You’ll be fined £100 if you miss the first deadline (even if it’s a nil return), and then you’ll get further fines if the return is still outstanding. And by the way, that’s per plan, so be careful if you’re running multiple employee share schemes.

This year RM2 will file over 100 share plan returns for our clients. If you need help with administration of your schemes, including managing the annual return process, contact or call 0208 949 5522.