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Tax Efficient Life Cover for Directors

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If you’re a company director and you have life assurance in place to protect your family, you could be paying more tax than you need to

Relevant life policies are a way of providing death in service benefits on an individual basis no matter how small your business is. They are not classed as a ‘benefit in kind’ so no tax payable on the premiums. In most cases the benefits are paid free of inheritance tax – provided the benefits are payable through a discretionary trust.

What are the benefits?

  • Although the company pays the premiums, they are not normally assessable to income tax on the employee as a benefit in kind. This can be a significant saving, particularly for a higher rate taxpayer.
  • Unlike a registered group scheme, the benefit will not form part of the employee’s annual or lifetime pension allowance.

What are the advantages of using a discretionary trust?

  • There are restrictions in the legislation as to who benefits can be paid to. The use of the trust is the most practical way of ensuring these requirements are met. The beneficiaries who could be included are usually family members and dependents.
  • Having benefits paid through a trust ensures they cannot be taxed as part of the company’s trading income, nor do they form part of the company’s assets.
  • The trust is discretionary, allowing trustees to be flexible in who they pay benefits to. However the employee can advise the trustees of his or her intentions by completing a nomination form. Although this is not legally binding on the trustees, it helps to guide them. The trustees will normally be the directors of the company.
  • Using a trust also ensures that in most circumstances benefits are paid free of both income tax and inheritance tax.
  • You can apply for any amount of cover up to a maximum of £5,000,000.
  • The maximum cover is 15 times the employee / director’s remuneration. This can include salary, regular dividends paid in lieu of salary and any benefits in kind.

Are there any limits to the cover I have?

The legislation does have some limits to qualify for the tax concessions, and to ensure these are met, it requires that:

  • The cover must be paid in a single lump sum before the age of 75.
  • Only Death & Terminal Illness benefits can be provided.
  • Benefits must be paid through a discretionary trust.
  • Beneficiaries are normally restricted to family members and dependents.

Who are relevant life policies suitable for?

  • Company Directors that would like their company to pay for their life cover and offset the premiums against corporation tax
  • Small businesses that do not have enough eligible employees to warrant a group life scheme.
  • Directors of small Ltd companies that may be thinking of putting Key Person cover in place so that their company can pay the premiums on their cover
  • High-earning employees or directors who have substantial pension funds and do not want their benefits to form part of their lifetime allowance.
  • They are not suitable for the self-employed or equity partners, although their employed staff could be covered.

How do I take out a relevant life policy?

Contact me discuss the tax advantages and suitability with you in more depth and arrange ‘no obligation’ quotes.

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Tel: 01773 771380

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