Guidance

Reporting of chargeable event gains: life insurance policies

Information for insurers reporting chargeable event gains on life insurance policies, includes details on the annual qualifying policy.

Chargeable event gains on life insurance policies etc

Currently there are 3 formats and they are listed below in the preferred order of usage.

  1. Electronic flat text file specification (previously called magnetic media specifications).
  2. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) chargeable events spreadsheet.
  3. Paper certificates.

Electronic flat text file specification

The notes provide insurers with guidance about the technical specifications that must be met when reporting gains as a text file. This will create a flat text file (CSV files are not acceptable), which can either be submitted by registering to use the Secure Electronic Transfer (SET) system or by sending the file to HMRC’s Centre for National Information on one of the approved media formats detailed in the specifications. The time taken to register for SET can vary so please ensure that you allow sufficient time to meet the return submission date.

Please ensure you are using the latest published version.

HMRC chargeable events spreadsheet

The spreadsheet is pre-structured to the format that insurers will need to follow. Insurers will be able to use the spreadsheet to report events for a single or for multiple policyholders. Please ensure you are using the latest published version.

The most common cause of spreadsheet failure has been the inclusion of excessive characters (including spaces). We have therefore updated the spreadsheet to include conditional formatting that will detect if more than the permitted number of characters has been entered in a cell. If you enter more than the permitted 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 and you will be required to correct the error(s) 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 in excess of a million rows.

If you require a later version of the spreadsheet please e-mail: cni.enquiries@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk detailing which spreadsheet you require.

Electronic flat text file returns and spreadsheets can be submitted by SET or on approved media such as CD.

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

For insurers wishing to report chargeable event gains in the prescribed form 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 will need Microsoft Excel version 97 or later.

Insurers should use this version of the template for future reports and not earlier published versions. Insurers can comply with the statutory requirement for them to report chargeable event gains to HMRC by entering the appropriate details on the certificate while it is on screen, printing the certificate and sending it to the Centre for National Information.

Qualifying policy information

Insurers can now download a document pre-structured to the format they will need to follow. Insurers will be able to use the spreadsheet to report information on policies with one or more beneficiaries. Please ensure you are using the latest published version.

The most common cause of spreadsheet failure has been the inclusion of excessive characters (including spaces). We have therefore updated the spreadsheet to include conditional formatting that will detect if more than the permitted number of characters has been entered in a cell. If you enter more than the permitted 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 and you will be required to correct the error(s) 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 in excess of a million rows.

If you require a later version of the spreadsheet please e-mail cni.enquiries@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk detailing 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 SET or on approved media such as CD.

Returns on media and/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 accompanied by an appropriate submission document.

If you have any queries regarding chargeable events certificates please use the appropriate contact details provided below:

Insurance companies (only)

For queries relating to the submission of your return such as:

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

Please e-mail: tpi.a@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk

To request

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

Please e-mail: cni.enquiries@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk

Policy holders

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

For queries about the tax implications of a certificate - contact the HMRC Income Tax Helpline.

Chargeable events - penalties following Audits and Voluntary Disclosures under Section 98 Taxes Management Act 1970

For clarification of chargeable event penalties following voluntary disclosures by and audits of insurer’s chargeable event processes see the below guidance.

Published 1 April 2014
Last updated 18 January 2017 + show all updates
  1. Contact details have been updated and outdated terminology removed.
  2. Qualifying policy information new and updated spreadsheet attached.
  3. Updated information and latest guidance.
  4. Chargeable Events – Penalties following Audits & Voluntary Disclosures document has been updated.
  5. First published.