UK Share Scheme Filing Deadlines and Tax Advantages
In this blog post, we’re going to delve into the world of UK share schemes, those exciting yet often perplexing plans that can offer some serious tax advantages to employees. We’ll unpack the four approved share schemes – Share Incentive Plans (SIPs), Save As You Earn (SAYE) schemes, Company Share Option Plans (CSOPs), and Enterprise Management Incentive (EMI) schemes. Most importantly, we’ll discuss their annual filing deadlines, with a focus on the tax year 2022-23.
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What are the approved share schemes?
Firstly, what are these approved share schemes? Let’s break them down:
Share Incentive Plans (SIPs): SIPs allow employees to acquire shares in their employing company. The shares are usually held in a special trust and can offer significant tax and National Insurance contribution benefits if the shares are held in the plan for a certain period.
Save As You Earn (SAYE) schemes: SAYE schemes, also known as Sharesave, allow employees to save between £5 and £500 per month over a set period (3, 5, or 7 years). At the end of the saving period, employees have the option to use their savings to buy shares in their company at a discount, or take the cash. You can read our full post on SAYE here.
Company Share Option Plans (CSOPs): CSOPs offer employees the opportunity to acquire shares at a fixed price. The real advantage comes if the company’s share price rises above that fixed price, as the difference is not subject to Income Tax or National Insurance.
Enterprise Management Incentive (EMI) schemes: EMI schemes are particularly suited for small, higher-risk companies. They offer selected employees the chance to acquire shares in the company. The tax advantages can be significant, especially if the company grows in value.
deadlines and penalties for share scheme filing
Now that we’ve defined these schemes, let’s talk about the important annual filing deadlines. For the tax year 2022-23, the deadline for submitting the online employment-related securities annual return is 6 July 2023. Failure to meet this deadline will result in an automatic late filing penalty of £100. Further penalties apply if the return remains outstanding after 6 October 2023 (£300) and 6 January 2024 (£300).
Even if a share scheme operator has received and paid the initial penalty, they must still submit an end-of-year or nil return to meet their filing obligations. Employers that don’t submit annual returns on-time run the risk that they and /or their employees may lose any tax advantages from the scheme.
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