HMRC's latest Employment-Related Securities Bulletins contains some useful information. Here is our enhanced version.
Employment-Related Securities (ERS) online service
The ERS online service only accepts submissions up to six years after the 6 April following the end of the relevant tax year. This means:
- You can no longer register an ERS scheme, file or amend ERS returns or submit an Enterprise Management Incentive (EMI) option notification for 2014-15.
- From 6 April 2022, you will not be able to register an ERS scheme, file or amend ERS returns or submit an EMI option notification for 2015-16. This will apply to 2016-17 from 6 April 2023.
- To register schemes, or submit returns or notifications six years after the end of the relevant tax year, you must use a special process as set out in the bulletin.
COVID-19 easements Enterprise Management Incentives (EMI)
EMI easements allowed a flexible approach to meeting the working time requirement of 25 hours (or 75% of working time) per week where COVID-19 prevented work as a result of furlough or unpaid leave.
The working time requirement under the easement included the time the employee would have worked but for their change of circumstances brought about by COVID-19.
This easement ends on 6 April 2022. Hereafter, employees must meet the working time requirement of 25 hours (or 75% of working time) per week in full.
COVID-19 easements Save as You Earn (SAYE)
SAYE easements which allowed:
- Participants to delay monthly contributions for up to 12 occasions without causing the SAYE contract to be cancelled, and;
- Furloughed employees, or those on unpaid leave, to pause contributions without causing the SAYE contract to be cancelled.
Are to be closed for new savings contracts starting from 6 April 2022.
Eligible savings contracts in place before 6 April 2022 can still access the easements. Any delay to contributions puts back the SAYE maturity date by the number of months missed.
Late registration of 2014-15 employee share schemes
- It is now too late to register an employee share scheme which should have been registered by 6 July 2015.
- You should register it for the next year available in the ERS online service (currently 2015-16) and follow the process for late returns or late EMI notifications.
ERS returns 2014 to 2015
You should send your return to HMRC if you’ve already registered an ERS scheme and need to:
- File a late return.
- Amend a return that has already been filed for 2014-15.
Send your return under the cover of a letter or email, setting out your reasons for missing the filing deadline or why amendments need to be made.
Late notification of EMI options granted in 2014-15
- EMI options need to be notified to HMRC within 92 days of being granted.
- If you failed to notify options granted in 2014-15 within 92 days, they may not qualify as an EMI option.
- To notify HMRC of options granted in 2014-15, send your return under cover of a letter or email, setting out your reasons why the deadline was missed.
From April 2022, the above for 2014-15 will also apply for 2015-16.
Missing submission deadlines and reasonable excuse
The deadline for filing annual ERS returns is 6 July, after the end of the tax year for which the return is due.
- Missing the deadline may result in late filing penalties; these will not be charged if HMRC are satisfied you have a reasonable excuse for failing to file on time.
The deadline for notifying HMRC of new EMI options granted is within 92 days of the date of grant. If you have a reasonable excuse for failing to notify by the deadline, provide full details and documentary evidence when you submit your late notification to HMRC.
- If HMRC are satisfied you have a reasonable excuse options granted will qualify as EMI options, provided all other requirements of the legislation were met at the date of grant of the option and have continued to be met throughout the life of the option.
- During the pandemic, HMRC have recognised that some employers and agents may have struggled to meet ERS tax obligations due to Coronavirus and will consider Coronavirus as a reasonable excuse for missing obligations such as registering new schemes and filing annual ERS returns. Guidance was last published in 2020, see Employment-Related Securities: What’s New? June 2020
HMRC’s contact details for share schemes enquiries
If you are submitting enquires by post, the address is:
Charities, Savings and International 1
Alternatively, you can email enquiries to:
- Make sure you include the relevant share scheme reference number when you contact HMRC for advice about share schemes.
- HMRC email addresses have changed; instead of ending in @hmrc.gsi.gov.uk, they now end @hmrc.gov.uk. Emails sent to old email addresses will still redirect to HMRC.