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Update on New Employer Reporting Requirement for Certain Share Schemes

Revenue has recently issued an eBrief which confirms that the requirement to provide a return of information on share plans which, until now, there was no prescribed format for reporting, will apply from the 2020 tax year onwards. The new Return will be known as the “Employers Share Awards” (ESA) return. For the 2020 tax year the statutory deadline will be 31 August 2021. For subsequent years, the filing deadline will be 31 March following the year in question. Failure to comply with this mandatory filing obligation can result in a monetary penalty.

New electronic reporting (see below) means that employers will also be required to file returns of information for certain other share schemes for 2020 and subsequent years.  This will assist Revenue in gathering significant detail on the schemes giving them much greater visibility of such schemes as operated by companies.  This will also add to the administrative burden for companies in meeting their filing obligations. Revenue have confirmed a statutory deadline of 31 August 2021 for the new “Employer Share Awards” (ESA) return in respect of the 2020 tax year. For subsequent years, the filing deadline will be 31 March following the year in question. The March deadline for the new return is in line with the filing deadline for other share scheme information returns (such as the Forms RSS1, ESS1 and KEEP1)

Finance Act 2020 provides for returns of information on share plans where there was until now no prescribed format for reporting and that this reporting to be in electronic format. We expect it will cover the following schemes:

  • Restricted shares
  • Forfeitable shares
  • Convertibles shares
  • Restricted Stock Units
  • Other share awards

The electronic “form” for the ESA Return is currently in the final development phase and is not yet available for usage. Revenue has confirmed in an eBrief that the ESA return should be available to download from their website in June. Similar to other share scheme information returns, the format of the form will be a prep-format spreadsheet file which will be available on Revenue’s website in June. The completed file can then be uploaded via Revenue’s Online System (ROS).

Revenue has also indicated that they will provide further updates and information on the new return in the coming weeks. 

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