HMRC internal manual

Insurance Policyholder Taxation Manual

IPTM2020 - Qualifying policies and life assurance premium relief: outline of qualifying policy rules

Qualifying policy conditions

The detailed rules governing whether a policy is a qualifying one are set out at ICTA88/SCH15. They are complex. HMRC offices and most customers will not usually need to concern themselves with these as insurers will take steps to determine whether the policies they are writing are qualifying or non-qualifying and will inform their customers accordingly. HMRC officers should refer any difficulties to BAI Financial Services Team. The guidance at IPTM8000 onwards is written primarily with insurers in mind and covers the rules in some detail.

The main conditions are, broadly 

  • the policy term must be ten years or more
  • premiums must be payable yearly or more frequently
  • the level of premiums must be reasonably smooth - the rules are complex, but in essence the premiums paid in any 12 month period must not exceed

    • twice the premiums in any other 12 month period
    • one-eighth of the total premiums paid for a period of ten years or, in the case of an endowment or term policy, its specified term
  • (for policies taken out on or after 1 April 1976) if the policy has a surrender value, the sum assured must be not less than 75 per cent of the premiums payable

    • during its term, if an endowment policy
    • within a specified premium payment term, if a whole life policy
    • until age 75 in the case of a whole life policy with no specified premium term.
  • the policy must be issued by a UK company or through a UK branch or permanent establishment of an overseas resident insurer.

The 75 per cent of premiums rule is modified in certain cases

  • an endowment policy where the insured life exceeds 55 - the 75 per cent figure is reduced by 2 percentage points for each year over 55
  • a term policy with no surrender value that does not run beyond age 75 - the rule is disapplied.
Further reference and feedback IPTM1013