Guidance

Report chargeable event gains for life insurance policies

How to report chargeable event gains on life insurance policies, including details on the annual qualifying policy if you're an insurer.

The 3 formats for reporting are:

  • Electronic Flat Text File specification (previously called magnetic media specifications)
  • HMRC chargeable events spreadsheet
  • paper certificates

Electronic Flat Text File specification

There are technical specifications that must be met when reporting gains as a text file.

This creates a flat text file (CSV files are not acceptable), which can be submitted by either:

The time taken to register for SDES can vary, so make sure you allow sufficient time to meet the return submission date.

You should make sure you’re using the latest published version.

HMRC chargeable events spreadsheet

The spreadsheet is in a format that you must follow. You should use the spreadsheet to report events for single or multiple policyholders.

Make sure you’re using the latest published version.

The most common cause of spreadsheet failure has been the addition of excessive characters (including spaces).

The spreadsheet now has conditional formatting that detects if more than the allowable number of characters are entered in a cell. If you enter more than the allowable number of characters, the cell on row 1 will turn red and will stay red until all the excess characters have been removed.

Spreadsheets with a red cell on row 1 will not process. You must correct the errors and resubmit your return.

The formatting will not check the accuracy or suitability of the data and the return could still fail. The spreadsheets are Excel version 2003 (.xls), capable of accepting 65,536 rows. They will not convert to the later version of Excel (.xlsx), capable of holding more than a million rows.

Email cni.enquiries@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk if you need a later version of either spreadsheet.

Submit spreadsheet returns through SDES.

HMRC chargeable events spreadsheet

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format.

If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email different.format@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk. Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

Paper certificates

If you want to report chargeable event gains in the right format for paper certificates, HMRC has produced an electronic template using Microsoft Excel. This template was last updated on 19 December 2002. To use it you’ll need Microsoft Excel version 97 or later.

You can comply with the statutory requirement when reporting chargeable event gains to HMRC by completing the certificate on screen, printing it and sending it to the CNI.

Qualifying policy information

You can now download a document pre-structured to the format they’ll need to follow. You’‘ll be able to use the spreadsheet to report information on policies with one or more beneficiaries.

Make sure you’re using the latest published version.

The most common cause of spreadsheet failure is explained in the HMRC chargeable events spreadsheet section.

Email cni.enquiries@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk if you need a later version of the spreadsheet and explain which spreadsheet you require.

Send HMRC qualifying policy information on a spreadsheet

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format.

If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email different.format@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk. Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

The qualifying policy spreadsheets can be submitted by SDES or on approved media such as CD.

Returns on media or forms should be sent to:

HMRC Risk and Intelligence Service
Centre for National Information
Ty Glas Road
Llanishen
Cardiff
CF14 5ZG

HMRC strongly recommends that returns are suitably packaged and are sent securely by means that record delivery or can be tracked in the case of delivery failure. All returns sent to Cardiff should be suitably labelled and sent with a suitable submission document.

Use the contact details below if you have any queries regarding chargeable events certificates.

Insurance companies (only)

Email: tpi.a@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk for queries regarding the submission of your return such as:

  • checking if a return has been received
  • to update contact details
  • checking if a return has passed

Email: cni.enquiries@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk to request:

  • submission guidance
  • a new sub number or closure of an existing sub number
  • other return queries

Policy holders

For queries about the content of a certificate you should contact your insurance company.

Contact the HMRC Income Tax Helpline for queries about the tax implications of a certificate.

Chargeable events: penalties following audits and voluntary disclosures under section 98 Taxes Management Act 1970

Read the guidance below for help on chargeable event penalties after audits and voluntary disclosures.

Published 1 April 2014
Last updated 6 June 2018 + show all updates
  1. Updated spreadsheets have been added for HMRC chargeable events and qualifying policy information.
  2. Contact details have been updated and outdated terminology removed.
  3. Qualifying policy information new and updated spreadsheet attached.
  4. Updated information and latest guidance.
  5. Chargeable Events – Penalties following Audits & Voluntary Disclosures document has been updated.
  6. First published.