Employer share returns

Did your company provide share-based remuneration during 2022?

Employers who operate share reward plans have an obligation to submit an annual return to Revenue providing details of certain share awards in the previous year. The deadline for the 2022 returns is 31 March 2023.

Employer share return filing

The deadline for submission of the 2022 Form ESA, RSS1, and KEEP1 returns is 31 March 2023.

Which return is required? This depends on the type of share schemes operated and, where multiple share schemes exist, more than one return is required.

Employers need to register with Revenue for share scheme reporting via ROS before submitting the relevant form.

As this registration process may take 2 - 3 working days (or longer), we recommend having this completed early to avoid any delays when it comes to submitting the return. A penalty may apply in cases of late filing for the above-mentioned returns, and also, as noted below, the benefits of the KEEP scheme may be withdrawn if the return is not filed on time.

Our employment tax & global mobility services team at Mazars can assist with all Revenue reporting obligations for share schemes.

Employer’s Share Awards (ESA) return

The Employer’s Share Awards return (Form ESA) was introduced in 2021. Form ESA broadly covers share-based awards not currently reported on a separate share scheme return and, additional information employers are not currently required to provide on any other return filed with Revenue.

Reporting is required for the following categories of shares:

  • Restricted Stock Units (RSUs);
  • Restricted shares;
  • Convertible shares;
  • Forfeitable shares;
  • Growth shares;
  • Phantom shares;
  • Discounted shares; and
  • any other awards with cash equivalent of shares.

What share-related transactions or events are reportable?

The specific details of an event or transaction required to be reported on the form is wide-ranging.

The Form ESA is in electronic format with separate tabs and reporting requirement instructions for each category. Depending on the category of share transaction, an employer may be required to include, for example; details of the award/grant, vesting, exercise, forfeiture, etc.

For example, with regard to RSUs, an employer should report any of the following events in the Form ESA for a given year; RSU is granted, share-settled or cash-settled (although reporting the grant of RSUs is currently optional.)

An employer should report payment of the cash equivalent of shares in the Form ESA for the year when the cash payment is made, even if the employee or director is no longer with the company.

Please note that Form ESA does not replace the requirement to report details of real-time double tax relief granted via payroll in relation to RSUs. See below for further details.

Form RSS1  

A Form RSS1 is a return of share options and other rights. This form contains information relating to the grant, exercise, assignment or release of share options. It also applies to Employee Stock Purchase Plans which fall under share option legislation in Ireland.

Form KEEP1

The Key Employee Engagement Programme (“KEEP”) is a tax-advantaged share option scheme to support Irish SMEs with the recruitment and retention of key employees.

Any company which has qualified for the KEEP scheme must file a return for any year in which it grants an option to an employee or any year in which an option is exercised, transferred or released. Otherwise the benefits of the KEEP scheme will be lost. 

Other share reporting obligations

Where an Approved Profit-Sharing Scheme (APSS) is in place and where shares are allocated, the scheme trustees are required to file a Form ESS1 by 31 March of the year following the allocation of shares to an employee under the scheme. All ESS1 returns must be filed through ROS.

For Save as you Earn (SAYE) schemes, where SAYE share options are granted or exercised in a given year, an employer is required to file a Form SRSO1 by 31 March of the following year.

Reporting obligations for real-time double taxation relief on RSUs

In addition to paying tax via the Irish PAYE system, individuals may also have a liability to tax in a foreign country on the RSU.

Where this is the case, and a double taxation treaty is in place with the other country, the individual may be entitled to a credit in relation to any amount subject to double taxation. As a concession, relief can be applied via payroll i.e. a “real-time credit” where certain conditions are met.

If a “real-time credit” is granted for 2022, the company must provide the relevant information to the Irish Revenue office dealing with the affairs of the company by 31 March 2023.

If you have any questions in relation to the above, or if you would like to discuss this topic further, please contact a member of our employment tax & global mobility services team below:

Staff Member




Ken Killoran

Tax Partner


01 4494451

Mark Spelman

Tax Manager


01 4496457