This new electronic form is needed by employers who are required to report certain share based remuneration electronically to Revenue. Finance Act 2020 introduced a mandatory reporting obligation on employers, essentially this means that reporting by employers is extended to include share awards given in the form of cash equivalents, or where a discount on shares is provided, to employees.
According to Revenue the ESA return applies for the tax year 2020 onwards.
Deadline for reporting
The statutory deadline for reporting share scheme information using the existing electronic returns KEEP1, RSS1, ESS1 is 31 March following the relevant tax year. This 31 March deadline remains and also applies to the new ESA return. However, as this new ESA return was not available in advance of 31 March 2021, the deadline for the 2020 ESA return is 31 August 2021.
For subsequent tax years the deadline for filing the ESA return will also be 31 March of the following the relevant tax year i.e. for 2021 the deadline for the ESA return will be 31 March 2022.
Format of new return
According to Revenue the format of the new ESA return will be similar to the existing KEEP1, RSS1 and ESS1 electronic return. Essentially this is a pre-formatted spreadsheet which can be uploaded through Revenue Online Service (ROS). We expect further updates from Revenue over the coming weeks and the new ESA return will be available at some stage during June 2021.
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Contact your Grant Thornton advisor to discuss your reporting requirements and how we can assist you with filing the new ESA return with Revenue.