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Employer Share Scheme Reporting - Ireland 

A new electronic share scheme reporting obligation has been introduced. The deadline for reporting the required details for 2020 is 31 August 2021. In later years the filing date will be 31 March in line with the reporting for share options and various approved share plans.

Employer Share Scheme Reporting – new return

Finance Act 2020 introduced new mandatory electronic reporting requirements for various share schemes. The new form in respect of these new electronic requirements is not yet available. Revenue have confirmed that the 2020 share scheme electronic reporting deadline for non-approved schemes and non-options will be 31 August 2021. The form is in development with Revenue setting out that it is expected to be available for completion in June 2021.

New Electronic Reporting

Historically the relevant section of legislation included a requirement for all share awards to be reported by 31 March unless the particulars were reportable under any other provision of legislation. Where share awards were reported via payroll employers typically relied on this as satisfying their reporting requirements. Finance Act 2020 extended the scope of reporting requirements for employers to include:

  • Awards given to directors and employees in the form of a cash equivalent of shares; and
  • Where a discount on shares is provided.

The legislation following the enactment of the Finance Act provides for mandatory electronic reporting of the information in a format prescribed by Revenue.

The Finance Act also amends the existing reporting requirements for the award of convertible securities, restricted shares and forfeitable shares to provide for mandatory electronic reporting of these awards.

The deadline for filing the electronic return will be 31 March following year end. However, as the electronic return is under development the reporting deadline for 2020 awards is extended to 31 August 2021.

Deloitte’s view

We understand from Revenue that the new electronic form will seek details across all share awards, and awards settled in cash, not falling within the existing RSS1 or approved schemes returns. It would seem unusual to request employers to complete reporting outside of payroll for those awards reported in payroll given Revenue’s recent focus on reducing the employer administration burden. If additional details were required in respect of awards, settled in shares or cash, it would seem more intuitive to include such details as part of normal payroll submissions rather than having a separate time-intensive obligation. For example, for large employers in Ireland, the form could reasonably take hundreds of hours to complete and employers will need to factor whether they have sufficient resources to do so prior to the deadline of 31 August 2021.

It is also not helpful that the requirement is retrospective particularly when the required form has not yet been developed. The reporting will apply for 2020 but was only introduced in Finance Act 2020 which was signed into law in December 2020. It would have been preferable for any new requirements to apply for awards made on or after 1 January 2021. There is uncertainty for employers as to what details will be required.

There will, for employers with a variety of schemes, be a range of sections within the form to complete which will create complexity for these employers. In addition, for employers with a globally mobile workforce, additional work may be required to determine the reportable elements for such employees.

Employers should consider who will be responsible within their organisation for the reporting and whether details will be readily available to the Irish employer. The Global Employer Services team in Deloitte can assist you with all Revenue reporting obligations for share schemes.
 

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