Important share scheme returns information

Posted by RM2 at 15:20 on 21 Sep 2015


Originally a deadline of 6 July 2015 was set by HMRC for companies operating share schemes to register those share schemes and submit their returns online. The new online system was launched prior to the deadline to enable companies to begin filing their returns. However, IT issues arose and the system was forced to be suspended whilst those were investigated. As a result, HMRC extended the deadline to 4 August 2015.

Recent feedback from HMRC, unfortunately, revealed that despite best efforts they have still not been able to extract all the data submitted via ERS Online before 20 July attached to circa 3,500 returns.

HMRC will now be contacting companies affected via letter, likely to be addressed to the Company Secretary, to alert them to this issue and request that the returns are resubmitted. If you did not file your return directly, this letter will still be issued directly to the company, as opposed to your agent/advisor, so you will need to contact them if you would like them to deal with any resubmissions.

HMRC have confirmed that companies affected will not be liable for late submission penalties as the original submissions were properly made, within the period given.

Further confirmation was received as a result of company feedback presented to HMRC at the meeting and they have advised on the following:

  • It is not possible to amend scheme registrations which contain errors – in order to correct these you will need to terminate the initial scheme registration and submit the corrected form.
  • It is not possible to amend an annual return, but you can deal with filing errors by submitting an entirely new return; the current system cannot accommodate any other method of correction.
  • Some confusion as to the wording “Submit annual return” was voiced. However, although this is confusing, HMRC have explained that this is a necessary link to allow for companies to submit a second return if they need to correct an error in the original, and therefore, needs to remain.
  • HMRC have confirmed that automatic penalties will not be applied where a return is submitted on time, and this applies if that return is then later replaced by a return submitted in order to correct an error.
  • Companies provided feedback where they outsourced their returns and advised HMRC that they were not always aware of their access codes. HMRC responded advising that companies can apply via PAYE Online for re-notification of their access codes. These will be sent directly to the companies and not the outsourcing company. Importantly HMRC clarified that outsourcing companies will have their own access codes and codes should be used only by those they are assigned to as opposed to sharing codes between the company and the outsourcing company.

If you are an RM2 client and receive one of the aforementioned letters, please do not hesitate to contact us for assistance or to advise that we need to make a second submission on your behalf. Please either call the Operations Team on 020 8949 5522 or email