Employee share scheme returns can be submitted online

Employee share scheme returns, which have to be filed annually for each separate approved plan offered to staff, can now be submitted online.

The Employee Share Schemes (Electronic Communication of Returns and Information) Regulations 2007, which came into force last month, allow companies to report to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) electronically. Employers will still be allowed to file paper returns, but it is hoped the online submission will make the process less burdensome.

Colin Gibson, head of the employee shares and securities unit at HMRC, said: "This is great news for companies. It will help reduce their administrative burden as our online service is a secure, quick and convenient way to file."

Fiona Downes, head of employee share ownership at ifsProshare, added: "The move to a secure online submission process for employee share scheme returns is a very positive step."

The online documents – form 39 for reporting on share incentive plans, form 34 for sharesave schemes, form 35 for company share option plans and form 42 for employment-related securities under non HMRC-approved schemes – can be found at www.hmrc.gov.uk/shareschemes/returns-and-info.htm