Key Man Insurance Taxation

How HMRC treats the taxation of Key Man Insurance

How Is Key Man Insurance Taxed In The UK?

When it comes to taxes on key man insurance in the UK, there are some helpful benefits for businesses:

  • Premiums paid are considered a tax deductible business expense under the ‘wholly and exclusively’ rule, as long as the policy relates to the company’s trade. This provides corporation tax relief.
  • The policy payout received by the business is treated as a trading receipt, so it is not taxed as income. There is no tax charged on the amount.
  • If the payout exceeds the key person’s economic value, the excess may not be deductible per the Anderson principles. But most payouts align with financial loss.
  • If the business pays back premiums to the deceased’s estate, this is a deductible expense rather than a capital loss. So tax relief applies.
  • For partnerships, premiums are split between partners and are tax deductible on their personal returns. Payouts not taxed.

So the key takeaway is that businesses can claim meaningful tax relief on premiums, and payouts are received tax-free based on tax rules for insurance. This makes the coverage even more valuable.

taxation of key man insurance

What Are The Anderson Principles

Anderson Rules are a set of rules developed in 1944 by Sir John Anderson (The then chancellor) & the UK government in order to determine how Keyman Insurance is taxed. These rules take into account factors such as whether or not the life assured has any other insurance policies and their value, as well as if there’s an absolute assurance that premiums will be paid for the policy.

Simply said, it is a series of requirements that must be satisfied in order for keyman insurance to qualify as a tax-deductible benefit. 

There are three Anderson Principles in total. Please take note that ALL THREE ARE REQUIRED:

  • The sole relationship is that of employer and employee.
  • The insurance is intended to meet the loss of profit resulting from the loss of services of the key employee.
  • It is an annual or short-term insurance.

Understanding the Anderson Rules is essential for anyone dealing with Keyman Insurance taxation. It makes sure everyone involved complies with all relevant laws set out by HMRC while avoiding unnecessary fees or penalties related to misinterpreting them. 

Key Man Insurance Taxation (When Protecting An Employee)

When it comes to protecting a key employee, taxation must be taken into consideration. There are a variety of rules and regulations that dictate how much tax is due for key man insurance in the UK. These laws can significantly impact the overall cost of providing such protection, so employers need to understand them fully before making any decisions.

The Anderson Rules are one set of guidelines which dictates who pays what when it comes to taxes related to a key person policy. Specifically, these rules state that if the employer pays either some or all of the premiums, then they will also be liable for paying the associated taxes. If, however, the employee contributes towards their own policy through salary sacrifice arrangements then they would be responsible for paying any due taxes themselves.

It is important to note that each situation should be assessed individually as there may be other factors involved which could affect this decision. Employers should seek professional advice from financial advisors and accountants with regard to their specific circumstances prior to purchasing key person insurance coverage for their employees. This way they can ensure compliance and avoid unnecessary penalties or fees down the line. Further information on how HMRC treat taxation for employees can be found here

Key Man Insurance Taxation (When Protecting A Shareholder)

When it comes to key man insurance, protecting a shareholder is an important consideration for UK businesses. Taxation must be taken into account when making decisions about how best to protect such shareholders.

For those who are unsure of the taxation implications involved in protecting a shareholder, there are several points to consider. Firstly, the tax treatment of premiums paid on key man policies depends on whether or not they’re seen as trading expenses by HMRC. If they are, then any premiums could be subject to corporation tax relief and won’t attract additional taxes. Secondly, if capital sums become payable upon death or critical illness under the policy, these amounts may be subject to income tax at 45%.

Anyone wishing to take out key person insurance should make sure that they understand fully all aspects of taxation that might apply – both now and in the future – so that they can plan accordingly and avoid any unexpected costs arising from their policy. This applies particularly when seeking to protect shareholders within the company; it’s essential that advice is sought from a qualified professional before proceeding with any arrangements.

Tax When Covering A Business Loan

Taxation is an important consideration when it comes to protecting a business loan. It’s essential that companies understand exactly how the tax implications of the laws in the UK apply, so they can make sure their loan cover falls within the regulations.

From corporation tax to income tax and VAT, there are several different taxes businesses should be aware of when taking out a loan. Companies must ensure that any arrangement for securing this type of debt does not run afoul of HMRC guidelines or risk incurring hefty fines.

The good news is that many lenders offer specialised advice on these matters, ensuring firms remain compliant with taxation law while also maximising repayment terms. This means organisations can feel secure knowing they’ve got reliable coverage against potential losses due to unanticipated financial events

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How Are Key Person Insurance Premiums Taxed In The UK

When it comes to key person policy premiums and taxes here in the UK, there are some notable benefits for companies to be aware of that enhance the value proposition of this cover.

Because the business itself owns the plan and covers the ongoing premium costs, payments are considered a legitimate deductible operational expense from a corporation tax standpoint. As long as policies relate clearly to business activities, companies get full tax relief on premiums paid annually.

This premium deductibility allows businesses to reduce overall policy costs. Rather than being purely an out-of-pocket sunk cost, a good portion is reduced. For small firms especially, every bit of tax relief helps cash flows.

On the back end, key person insurance payouts received if a key individual dies are also not subject to income taxation. As the named beneficiary, businesses avoid tax on the lump sum payment amount under long standing precedent and tax rules classifying insurance proceeds.

So not only are annual premiums deductible, but terminal payouts entirely avoid taxes as well. This combination amounts to essentially tax-free financial continuity protection for companies dependent on just a handful of employees driving revenues, production, client relationships or innovation.

It is wise for finance departments to collaborate closely with insurance brokers and accountants to ensure optimal structuring when implementing key policies. The right formulation allows maximum deductions, accurate financial reporting of premiums, and zero tax liability on eventual claims proceeds.

Overall the tax efficiencies embedded in both sides of key person coverage meaningfully enhances the risk-reward profile and balace sheet impacts, making it more attractive and highly utilized by privately held small and medium enterprises in the UK.


So, in conclusion, key man insurance is a useful way to protect businesses from the potential loss of an important employee or shareholder. Keyman insurance in the UK is subject to taxation as per Anderson rules. When covering an employee’s death benefit, any premiums paid are tax deductible for the employer and taxable for the beneficiary when received. Similarly, if protecting a shareholder’s life, any benefits will be taxed on receipt by the beneficiaries under normal capital gains rates. Finally, where this type of policy covers loans taken out by a business, the interest payable remains fully tax-deductible with no further taxes applicable upon payment of claims. As such, it is essential that companies understand how their policies may be affected by taxation before making any decisions regarding them.

For more detailed and up to date information we could always advice speaking to your local tax expert or to HMRC directly. We also suggest speaking to your local tax office for further information.