Share Plan Reporting 2023: Advising Your Clients

25 April 2023 | Alasdair Friend

The UK tax authorities’ (HMRC) submission deadline for annual return filings in relation to employment-related securities for the 2022/23 tax year is midnight on 6 July 2023.

From the 6th April 2023 there are changes to reporting requirements including an increase in the number of mandatory fields in share plan returns (see ‘Updates and changes to reporting requirements’).

You may wish to alert your clients to this deadline and to the changes to reporting in 2023. You are welcome to adapt the content below to share with your clients. 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.

[Your greeting]

I am writing to let you know about the upcoming reporting deadline for UK Share plans and the changes to reporting requirements in 2023.


Share plan reporting deadline

  • All employers 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 2022/23 tax year return (which ended on 5th April 2023) is 6th July 2023.



  • The annual share plan returns must be filed online, as part of the employer’s PAYE online processes, via the HMRC Employment Related Securities (ERS) online service.
  • In order to be able to file the returns, employers 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 an employer 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.


Share plan reporting checklist

  • Register all new share plans, schemes or arrangements on the HMRC online platform.
  • If necessary, file a separate registration for one-off arrangements.
  • Submit the relevant annual online return for each plan registered on the HMRC system.
  • If there have been no reportable events in the reporting period, submit a nil return for all open tax-advantaged and non-tax advantaged plans.


2023 Updates and changes to reporting requirements

Increase in mandatory reporting requirements

The recently published ‘Employment Related Securities Bulletin 47’ from HMRC confirms changes to the end of year templates from 6th April 2023. Returns submitted after the 6th April 2023 will now require the mandatory reporting of:

  • The employer’s PAYE reference number;
  • Whether PAYE has been operated; and
  • The employee’s NI number or, where the employee has not been issued an NI number, a special code based on the employee’s date of birth and the reason that an NI number has not been issued.

Employers should take additional care to ensure that they are operating within their data protection compliance policies both inside and outside the UK, particularly when the completion of ERS returns requires that employee’s personal data is transmitted internationally.


New share plan registrations

Employers that have implemented new share plans will need to register the new share plans. Employers that have completed a corporate transaction involving the issue of new equity, rolled equity or loan notes will also need to register a new arrangement if the new rights granted or securities issued are not covered by an existing registration.

The employer must complete the plan registration on the HMRC system. Agents can provide support and assistance but cannot themselves register plans on the HMRC system.

Once the share plan is registered, the employer will be provided with a unique reference number that is used to submit the annual return.

Employers should be aware that the tax benefits available for tax-advantaged share plans only apply where the relevant plan has been registered and self-certified.


Filing the annual share plan return

Step 1 – Agent Authorisation

Employers need to provide their nominated agent with their PAYE reference and accounts office reference number in order for the agent to request a code from HMRC.

HMRC will then send an authorization code to the employer’s registered PAYE address by post.

The employer should then provide the agent with this code so they can gain access to the HMRC system.

This process can take up to four weeks, so it is very important that the employer starts this process early.

Step 2 – Plan Registration

Once agent authorisation has been completed, the authorised agent can submit the return on behalf of the employer (returns can be submitted from the 6th April 2023).

The employer should provide their agent with information on all awards of rights to acquire shares, all acquisition of shares, and all relevant vestings of awards in the previous tax year.


Common errors to avoid

Failing to include non-UK based employees

Employees that are non-UK based but have carried out duties in the UK during the period of award should be included in the filing.

Failing to include non-executive directors

Non-executive directors should be included in the ‘other’ return for non-tax advantaged plans.

Duplication or the incorrect registration of schemes

If you’ve already registered a scheme, you should select ‘view scheme arrangements’. A common error is selecting ‘register a scheme or arrangement’, which causes duplication of the same scheme and can lead to unnecessary penalties.

Not filing in good time and failing to file nil returns

Even if there has been no share plan activity or ‘reportable events’ during the tax year 2022/2023 you must file a nil return. Failure to do so could result in penalties. The deadline for reporting Annual UK Share Plan filings is 6th July 2023.

Failing to correctly cease a scheme

To cease a scheme, select ‘view schemes and arrangements’, then select the relevant scheme and choose the option ‘End of year returns’. You must then select ‘provide a final date of event’ and enter the date. This can only be completed by the company and not an ERS agent.

ERS online access and uploading templates

Any alterations to the template, including formatting changes, deleting columns or tabs will prevent you from being able to upload the template to the gateway. You will receive an error message if this is the case.

Late notification of Enterprise Management Incentives (EMI) options

The grant of EMI options must be notified to HMRC within 92 days of grant in order for the options to qualify as tax-advantaged EMI options. Where EMI options are granted under a new EMI plan, the employer must ensure that the EMI plan is registered in good time in order for the notification of grant to be filed within the 92-day period. HMRC can take up to 10 days to approve a scheme registration, and so the registration process should be started well before the end of the notification period.


Penalties for late filing

If returns are filed after the deadline (6 July 2023), 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.

Filed after 6th July 2023

£100 penalty for each outstanding return.

Filed 3 months after the 6th July 2023

£300 additional penalty for each outstanding return (total of £400 per return).

Filed 6 months after the 6th July 2023

£300 additional penalty for each outstanding return (total of £700 per return).

Filed 9 months after the 6th July 2023

£10 additional penalty per day for each outstanding return.


How we can help you to help your clients

We can provide advice and assistance in relation to all aspects of the annual reporting requirements and are happy to help your clients. We can assist you as our client or work with your clients directly to enable a seamless reporting process including:

  • Practical support with registrations;
  • Help with self-certification of tax advantaged plans;
  • A review of your clients’ current reporting processes and how to format your report correctly to comply with the HMRC system;
  • Preparation and return of all filings;
  • Expert advice on tax treatments and administration of all share plans; and
  • Assessment and advice on data protection compliance in relation to share plan reporting.

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.

The author

Alasdair Friend
Compensation and Benefits
International Assignments
D: +44 (0) 207 036 8385
T: +44 (0) 203 051 5711
F: +44 (0) 203 051 5712

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