Share plan annual returns deadline – 6th July

Our operations team at RM2 can put its collective feet up – all 150 returns have been filed in good time for our clients’ share plans.

If you’ve not filed your returns yet for the 2018/19 tax year, you have until 6th July 2019. If you miss the deadline, even for reasons that you think are quite reasonable, don’t assume that HMRC will accept your excuses. There are plenty of taxpayers who thought they had a reasonable excuse for late filing, but it turns out they didn’t:

  • Impecuniosity* is not an excuse for late filing – even if the poor gentleman in question had filed late owing to a series of severe financial difficulties (Tomasz Kruszniewski v The Commissioners for HMRC [2019] UKFTT 0364 (TC)). (*Plain English has yet to arrive in at the tax tribunal.)
  • A mere “bald assertion” of illness – however life threatening – is not a special enough circumstance (and certainly not without evidence); if taxpayers are ill they should usually make arrangements to deal with their tax affairs (H. A. Adeokun v The Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs)
  • Don’t rely on your agent. You can hire a third party such as an accountant to file your returns but if they fail to do so, the obligation remains with you (J Hayes Properties v HMRC).

Also – don’t assume that a nil return means you’ll be able to file late without penalties applying. A taxpayer who filed his self assessment tax returns late, and received late filing penalty notices, didn’t pay the penalties for a period of 3 years. The late filing penalties eventually added up to over £3,000. Arguing that the penalties were disproportionate, because there hadn’t been any tax to pay anyway, didn’t work – HMRC doesn’t have a general power to reduce penalties on the grounds of proportionality (Barry Edwards v HMRC [2019] UKUT 131 (TCC), 2019 WL 01992108)

If you need help administering your employee share plans, including dealing with annual return filing for any plan type, give us a call on 0208 949 5522 or email us on and our experienced operations team will be happy to help you.