What is a P11D or Benefit in Kind?

I own a company and I’m looking to take out group protection policies for my employees. However, I’m not really sure how tax works on employee benefits. Will I need to pay tax on premiums? Do employees need to pay tax on insurance paid for by the company? I think I’ve heard my accountant mention something about P11D benefits, but I don’t know what they are.

Question asked by Laura Grisham

Is Group Protection Insurance a P11D or Taxable Benefit in Kind?

When it comes to the taxation of certain employee benefits, it can get a bit confusing. What exactly do you pay tax on and what exactly is tax-free?

If you’re looking to take out any form of Employee Benefits package for your employees then you’ll need to know about benefits in kind, the P11D form and how these work.

How Benefits in Kind Work

A benefit in kind is effectively a benefit that an employee or director receives from their employer. It’s not counted as part of their salary. For instance, benefits in kind include company cars, company mobile phones, childcare and accommodation.

While benefits in kind are usually highly valued, there’s an issue that complicates the matter — how employee benefits are taxed.

Because the company pays for benefits with pre-tax earnings and provides them in addition to an employee’s salary, HMRC effectively sees this as the employee’s salary rising without the additional amount being subject to PAYE tax.

So to reclaim the additional tax, HMRC requires one of two options. Firstly, employers can take the owed tax from their employees through payroll. Alternatively, the employer can declare these expenses at the end of the tax year in order for HMRC to value and tax them accordingly.

What is a P11D?

When completing their end of year financial reporting, employers need to fill out a P11D form. This is a way to report employer-provided expenses and benefits the employer paid for that tax year.

Employees don’t usually need to fill out a P11D form when they receive a taxable benefit. However, if you’re a freelancer or contractor arranging a P11D benefit via your company, you’re technically both employer and employee. In your capacity as the employer, you’ll therefore need to fill out a P11D as part of your self-assessment tax return.

Is Group Insurance a P11D?

This depends on the employee benefit in question. A brief summary of the tax position on the four most common types of employer-provided group insurance policies is laid out below.

However, we strongly recommend you seek professional advice on your company’s tax position before implementing an employee benefit.

Is Group Income Protection a P11D?

Group Income Protection is not normally considered a taxable benefit in kind for the employee. Moreover, it’s usually an allowable business expense for the employer.

That means neither employer nor employees usually have to pay additional tax on Group Income Protection premiums. However, HMRC will tax the benefit on a claim via the PAYE system just like wages.

Group Life Insurance Tax

Group Life Insurance — also known as Death in Service cover — is also generally permitted as a business expense for an employer. Employees usually don’t have to pay any tax on Death in Service premiums, either. This is because Group Life Cover isn’t considered a P11D.

Death in Service is also written into trust, so the benefit goes to the employee’s loved ones tax-free.

Is Group Critical Illness Insurance a Benefit in Kind?

Yes, Business Critical Illness Cover is generally considered a P11D for employees.

HMRC usually allows Group Critical Illness Cover as a business expense for employers. However, employees must pay tax on the Group Critical Illness premiums their employer pays on their behalf.

Is Group Health Insurance a Benefit in Kind?

Business Private Medical Insurance is another example of a taxable company insurance policy.

The typical way that taxation works for employer-provided Medical Insurance is that the company pays for the premiums and employees pay tax on the benefit.

HMRC usually does this with an adjustment of an employee’s personal allowance, so employees can earn less before tax kicks in.

To learn more about Group Protection products, visit our Employee Benefits page or call us on 02074425880 to speak to one of our experts.

I had a great experience with Drewberry, they have a lot of knowledge and expertise with life insurance and income protection and were able to advise me and arrange suitable products. Highly recommend.

Lachlan Mellings
12/08/2020
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