Typically, most employers who provide death in service benefits for employees do so through a scheme that is registered with HMRC.
However, in recent years, there has been an increase in the number of employers using an alternative type of arrangement: an Excepted Group Life Policy. Changes which have been proposed to take effect from 6 April 2019 could make such arrangements even more common in the future.
What is an Excepted Group Life Policy (EGLP)?
An EGLP is a life assurance policy for death in service benefits. EGLPs are set up under discretionary trusts with benefits paid to certain categories of beneficiary in the event of an employee’s death. There are certain conditions that must be met for an arrangement to qualify as an EGLP but registration with HMRC is not a requirement.
Why are EGLPs used?
The current position
Currently, premiums paid by employers towards retirement or death benefits are only exempt from being a taxable benefit in kind if the ultimate beneficiary is a member of the employee’s “family or household”.
If the beneficiary does not fall within this definition, the premiums paid by the employer are treated as a taxable benefit in kind.
The proposed changes
The Finance Bill 2018/19 (the Bill) proposes to extend the benefit in kind exemption to make it possible to pay a benefit to any individual or charity under an EGLP without the premium payable by the employer being taxed as a benefit in kind. The changes are proposed to take effect from 6 April 2019.
 Section 721 of the Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003