Annual UK Share Plan Reporting due 6th July 2021

11 May 2021 | Alasdair Friend

The UK tax authorities’ (HMRC) submission deadline for annual return filings in relation to employment-related securities for the 2020/21 tax year is midnight on 6 July 2021.

You may wish to alert your clients to this deadline. We have summarised details of the filing obligation below, which you are welcome to adapt to alert your clients to the deadline. You can also view our article notifying corporate businesses of this deadline here.



We provide advice and assistance in relation to all aspects of the annual reporting requirements and are happy to help your clients. Either you can be our client or we can have a direct relationship with your client. Either way, as usual, we will not act for them on any other matters or market to them without your permission. Find out more about our Corridor® offering here.



What needs to be done and by when?

  • All companies which award share incentives (options, restricted stock, long term incentives, etc.) to their employees in the UK must file an annual share plan return with HMRC following the end of the tax year.
  • The deadline for the 2020/21 tax year return (which ended on 5th April 2021) is 6th July 2021.

What are the filing requirements?

  • The annual share plan returns must be filed on-line, as part of the company’s PAYE on-line processes, via the HMRC Employment Related Securities (ERS) online service.   
  • In order to be able to file the returns, companies must have registered their share plans with HMRC. Where a company operates tax-advantaged share plans in the UK, it must register each tax-advantaged plan separately, and self-certify that those plans satisfy the conditions for favourable tax treatment. All non-tax advantaged plans operated by a company can be registered under a single registration number.
  • Where a company has previously registered a share plan, it must complete a ‘nil return’ if no reportable events (grants, exercises, vestings, etc.) have occurred during the tax year.

What are the risks?

  • There are penalties for late filing of returns, or failure to file a ‘nil return’. It is therefore important to start making the necessary preparations for annual returns compliance and we can help. 




Scope of the reporting requirements

The ERS reporting requirements apply to any share options, shares and other types of security that are acquired by UK employees by reason of their employment.  It can therefore apply to share options and other kinds of share incentives that are granted by non-UK companies to UK based employees.  Reporting may also be required in respect of non-UK resident employees who carry out work duties in the UK.


Online registration

Each ERS plan or arrangement should be registered online, however non-tax advantaged plans or arrangements do not need to be registered until there is a reportable event.


Self-certification of UK tax advantaged plans

Companies that operate tax advantaged ERS plans, such as Share Incentive Plans (SIPs), Savings Related Share option plans (SAYE) and Company Share Option Plans (CSOPs) must self-certify online that the plan complies with the relevant statutory code.  The company secretary (or another person authorised to make the filing for the grantor company or UK subsidiary) should complete an online form declaring certain requirements have been met at the date of registration or from when the first option or award was granted.


Online filing of annual returns

An online return must be completed for each registered ERS plan or arrangement by 6 July following the end of the tax year.  The returns will contain details of any share options that have been granted and exercised, as well as any other reportable events in relation to employment-related securities.



If returns are filed after the deadline (6 July 2021), penalties may be imposed, and any tax advantages from a tax-advantaged plan for employers and employees may be lost.  It is therefore important to start making the necessary preparations for annual returns compliance.


Speak to us

We can provide advice and assistance in relation to all aspects of the annual reporting requirements.  For further information on how we can help please get in touch.


Content is for general information purposes only. The information provided is not intended to be comprehensive and it does not constitute or contain legal or other advice. If you require assistance in relation to any issue please seek specific advice relevant to your particular circumstances. In particular, no responsibility shall be accepted by the authors or by Abbiss Cadres LLP for any losses occasioned by reliance on any content appearing on or accessible from this article. For further legal information click here.

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The author

Alasdair Friend
Compensation and Benefits
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