• Employee share scheme news and updates

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    Subscribe to our online bulletin

    As a subscriber you will receive an email alert when we have new information about employee share scheme (ESS) reporting.

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    Reporting to us

    There are no changes to reporting requirements for the 2016–17 financial year.

    For the 2017–18 financial year there will be some changes to reporting. A draft specification ESS annual report v3.0.0.0External Link is now available.

    Common lodgment questions

    Unable to see the ESS online form in the ATO Portals

    Providers reporting through ATO portals must ensure they have the correct permissions set in Access Manager to prepare and lodge ESS reports. Your access administrator can log in to Access Manager to set these permissions.

    Numbers of employees or schemes in the online form

    You can report up to 50 employees using the online form, and you can report up to three different schemes per employee.

    Online form not loading

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    Difference between acquisition date and plan date

    • For taxed up front schemes the acquisition date is the same as the plan date.
    • For deferral schemes the acquisition date is the grant or offer date.

    The plan date is the vesting date and the date of the taxing event in the financial year of reporting.

    Difference between assessable and gross discount amounts

    • An assessable amount is the gross amount less an adjustment.
    • A gross amount is the full amount of the ESS discount received.

    Why does a tax agent need to have the Income Tax role selected to view the online form?

    Tax agents are required to make sure their client is registered in their client list. They need an Income Tax role added to the client profile to access the ESS online form through the Tax Agent Portal.

    See also:

    Plan dates

    Multiple taxing events for the same employee with the same plan within a financial year need monetary amounts and the number of interests combined. Use the earliest plan date or taxing event date reported.

    When a share or option plan is offered or granted (the acquisition date) then it should be allocated a unique identifier. This identifier follows the plan or scheme in its entirety for future taxing events or plan dates.

    As defined in ESS specification v2.0, the plan date is the date that a taxing point happens to an employee share scheme interest acquired by an employee:

    • For an upfront scheme this will be the acquisition date.
    • For a deferred plan this will be the deferring taxing point reported in the format CCYYMMDD.
    • The plan date must be within the same financial year as the ESS annual report.
    • Where there is more than one taxing point during the year, enter the date of the first taxing point in the reporting field.
    • The plan date field must be populated with a date on or after the date reported in the acquisition date field.

    2016–17 lodgment checklist

    The ESS annual report is due 14 August. Below is a checklist to assist you with lodgment readiness.

    2016–17 lodgment checklist


    What you need to do

    Do you have an AUSkey?

    To lodge online you or your intermediary will need an AUSkey password.


    To get your AUSkey:


    To manage access and permissions for online services, go to Access Manager.

    Are you using the latest version of the ESS electronic reporting specifications?

    You need to use version v2.0.0.


    For more information see: Employee share scheme (ESS) annual report specification v2.0.0External Link

    Are you lodging using our secure Business PortalExternal Link or Tax Agent Portal?

    In the Business Portal or Tax Agent Portal select File transfer from the left hand menu. Then lodge file.

    Do you have less than 50 employees?

    You can use the Business Portal Employee Share Scheme (ESS) Online form. This can be used to report up to 50 employees with up to three different schemes per employee.


    For more information and how to lodge, go to ESS Online formExternal Link.

    Do you need the supplier lodgment declaration?

    If you are using an intermediary (supplier) to lodge your ESS report on your behalf, download and complete your Employee share scheme annual report – supplier lodgment declaration (NAT 73508). Retain the declaration for a minimum period of five years.

    Do you have any questions about preparing your report?

    For more information about preparing your report:

    Do you have any questions about the Business Portal?

    For more information about the Business Portal:

    See also:

    ATO Portal outages

    Details of planned outages and key updates to ATO Portals are published at System maintenance.

    Weekly system maintenance


    The portals may have limited services at the following times due to overnight system maintenance.

    Scheduled start time

    Scheduled end time

    Tuesday night

    Wednesday morning

    Thursday night

    Friday morning

    Saturday night

    Sunday morning

    Help with lodging

    If you need help with lodging, you can contact us by:

      Last modified: 01 Aug 2017QC 27281