Countdown to new 6 July online registration

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Businesses are being warned they now have less than three months to register any planned employee share-save schemes – or risk the threat of fines.

Changes to the rules for registering share-save schemes means that since 5 April, SMEs have had to complete an online (rather than paper form). Companies only have until 6 July to register.

Legal expert BDO is advising firms who do wish to register to act soon, because the process can take up to a month to get right, and before a business can even start the process, they need to register to receive a unique online reference number, which can itself take up to a week to generate.

Share-save schemes approved by HMRC (including Share Incentive Plans and Enterprise Management Incentive schemes), are growing in popularity, because they provide tax benefits to employees.

Staff do not have to pay income tax or national insurance on shares they hold from their employer, and they only pay capital gains tax when the shares are sold.