HMRC's latest Employment-Related Securities Bulletin contains some handy tips. Here is our enhanced version.


  • Submit your 2017/18 Employment-Related Securities (ERS) annual return online on or before 6 July, following the end of the tax year.
  • All new schemes established during 2017/2018 should be registered by 6 July.
  • HMRC will not issue you with reminders to file your annual return. This is the responsibility of employers.
  • Once the scheme is registered it can take up to 10 days for you to be allocated a unique scheme reference number. This is NOT sent to you: you must check for the reference number in ‘view schemes and arrangements’.
  • The checking service in ‘view scheme and arrangements’ will only work once a scheme has been registered and allocated with a unique scheme reference number.
  • You must file an annual return even if there have been no reportable events.
  • To submit a nil return you don’t need to upload a blank annual return template.

If you do miss any deadlines and believe that you have a reasonable excuse for having done so then you can contact HMRC at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please include full details of your scheme in your email.

Enterprise Management Incentives (EMI)

  • You must set up and register a new scheme.
  • The unique scheme reference number is issued online, it is not sent out to you. You can then submit EMI notifications of the grant of EMI options and submit annual returns.
  • HMRC must be notified within 92 days.
  • See EMI: Enterprise Management Incentives 

Save-As-You-Earn (SAYE)

The extension to the SAYE savings holiday for employees on qualifying parental leave from six months to 12 months will now be extended to 12 months for all SAYE plans, not just those with qualifying parental leave. This change will take effect on 1 September 2018.

ERS online data

HMRC estimates that:

  • Schemes that were registered: 25,000.
  • 2016-2017 – £100 penalties (7,100) and £300 penalties (4,600).
  • Appeals received 2016-2017
    • 1st penalty 2,200.
    • 2nd penalty 600.
    • 3rd penalty 398.
  • Penalties upheld, approximately 2,256.
  • Returns still outstanding 3rd penalties issued; 2,700.

HMRC say that these statistics show that employers are still failing to fulfil their obligations in terms of registering new schemes and filing annual returns on time. It does not provide any data to indicate how many schemes it expects to see.

HMRC's top ERS errors

  • Incorrect registration and duplication.
  • Failing to file on time.
  • Failing to file nil returns.
  • Failing to file a final event date to cease a scheme.
  • Misunderstanding who is responsible for administering ERS.
  • Altering the ERS template.
  • Late notification of EMI options.

Top things to remember

Always select ‘view scheme or arrangement’ before registering a new scheme to avoid duplication.

If you do register a scheme in error you’ll need to cease the duplicated record by recording a ‘final event date’ and submit a nil return. You must also remember to file a return for the original registered scheme to avoid late filing penalties being issued.

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