Monaco is one of many countries with Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) requirements, specifically the Special Annual Tax and Fire Brigade Tax. This blog provides an overview of IPT in Monaco to help insurance companies remain compliant.
In Monaco, there are two types of taxes that apply to premium amounts received by insurance companies. These taxes apply to domestic as well as foreign insurance companies who write business in Monaco, whether or not they have a branch office there.
It is necessary to highlight that Monaco is not a member of the EU/EEA. As a result, the Location of Risk provisions outlined in Directive 2009/138/EC, often referenced as the Solvency II Directive, do not apply. Therefore, determining whether a premium amount triggers Monegasque insurance premium tax or not requires understanding the local territorial rules.
The Monegasque insurance premium taxes are:
SAT rates vary based on the risks covered. The lowest rate is 0.20% for policies covering export credit risks, while the highest rate is 25% for policies covering property risks with a fire element. Most taxable insurance is subject to a 7% rate.
There are various exemptions from SAT, such as life insurance and related contracts, reinsurance, and risks located outside of Monaco.
There is a fixed rate of 9% for Fire Brigade Tax.
The taxable premium is the taxable basis for both SAT and FBT. It is defined as the sum stipulated for the benefit of the insurer, including any extra fees or charges paid directly or indirectly by the insurer. The taxable basis for FBT can be different from SAT.
SAT and FBT are filed quarterly on one return. The payment must be made alongside the filing. The settlement deadline is the tenth day of the third month after the reporting period ends.
In addition to the quarterly return obligation, insurance businesses must file an annual return by 31 May of the year after the reporting year.
Penalties are imposed for payment delays, as well as inaccuracy, omission, inadequacy, or any other violations that may cause damage to the Monegasque treasury.
The late payment interest rate is 6%, and is charged on the entire month, regardless of when in the month the late payment becomes due. For every other error, the default penalty is EUR 150 or EUR 1,500. The latter applies if the violated legal provision is punishable.
The fiscal representation regulations are the most difficult aspect of Monegasque insurance premium taxation. A foreign insurance business must have a representative authorised by the Minister of State to declare taxes in Monaco.
This representative should be a private individual and is fully liable for the payment of any Monegasque duties and fines. In addition, a certain amount of guarantee is payable if the representative is not based in Monaco.
Speak to our IPT experts
There is a wide variety of indirect taxes and parafiscal charges that apply to the different elements of coverage that can be included under a motor insurance policy in Spain. You can read our blog to learn more about taxation of motor insurance policies in Europe, this blog focuses on some of the specifics to consider in Spain.
The application of Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) and a surcharge to finance winding-up activity are common across all classes of insurance typically found in a motor insurance policy, with the latter being declared to Consorcio de Compensación de Seguros (“Consorcio”). For coverage such as roadside assistance and legal protection, this is likely to be the extent of the taxes due.
Additional Consorcio surcharges are due on other elements of the cover. For example:
Most motor insurance taxes and parafiscal charges are calculated as a percentage of the taxable premium. These taxes are then added to the premium and charged directly to the insured.
There are some exceptions including direct damages surcharge and fixed fees. The direct damages surcharge applicable to accident coverage is a percentage that applies to the sum insured rather than the taxable premium.
Additionally, there are fixed fees due to Consorcio on motor damage and motor third-party liability coverage that vary based on the type of vehicle. Categories with their own fixed fee include mopeds, passenger cars, and industrial vehicles, amongst many others.
The fixed fee for the Green Card should be treated as insurer-borne and is therefore not a cost directly passed onto the insured.
Spain has a fairly narrow scope for any IPT exemption under a motor insurance policy in comparison to other European jurisdictions.
As a rule, there are currently no exemptions that apply to particular categories of vehicle but there is an exemption for certain international coverage. In the case of any goods in transit insurance relating to cross-border transport that is included under a motor policy, that portion can be treated as exempt from IPT. The Consorcio Surcharge to Finance Winding-up Activity would remain applicable in these circumstances though.
Still have questions about taxation of motor insurance policies or IPT in Spain? Speak to our experts.
When considering motor insurance, it’s worth remembering that everything is high – from tax rates to the amount of administration required.
This blog includes general information about the taxation of motor insurance policies in Europe, covering the types of applicable taxes, how they are calculated, vehicle exemptions and more. We also have blogs for some of the more complex taxation requirements in the region, written by our regulatory experts.
Update: 2 November 2023 by Edit Buliczka
The Amendment to the Sixth Motor Insurance Directive, also known as the “MID,” was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 2 December 2021. MID relates to insurance against civil liability in relation to the use of motor vehicles and the enforcement of the obligation to insure against such liability.
The measures of the Directive 2021/2118 (the “Amendment”), which was signed on 24 November 2021, must be transposed into national law by 23 December 2023, at the latest.
Among other important measures, this Amendment is relevant to insurance premium taxation. Two new articles were added to the MID regarding the contributions that may be payable by the insurance companies to the national guarantee funds.
According to Article 10a and Article 25a, every EU Member State is required to ensure that there are sufficient resources available to compensate injured parties in a motor vehicle accident where the relevant insurer is subject to bankruptcy or winding-up proceedings. The insurers may be required to contribute financially to these funds, but only insurance companies authorised by the Member State that imposed the payments may be subject to these levies.
In practice, the measures mean that contributions to the national guarantee funds related to compulsory third-party motor liability insurance policies cannot be collected from foreign insurers that write businesses on a freedom of services (FoS) basis. Since there is a requirement for the implementation of these measurements coming into national law by 23 December 2023, legally no guarantee fund contributions are payable by foreign insurers as of 24 December 2023.
Some governments, including Denmark and Ireland, have already started to draft the necessary regulations and incorporate them into their national laws. Others will likely follow shortly as there are under two months available for the implementation of these rules, at the time of the publication of this update. Perhaps several annual budgets will include the necessary legislative changes to comply with the measurements of the Amendment.
If you would like to receive further information about the guarantee fund contributions, please contact our IPT experts.
According to Annex 1 of the Directive 2009/138/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of the EU, often known as the Solvency II Directive, motor vehicle insurance policies are classified as Class 3 Land vehicles (other than railway rolling stocks).
This business category covers any damage or loss to:
Class 10 Motor Vehicle Liability is another business class that covers motor-related risks. This business class covers all risks associated with liabilities deriving from the operation of motor vehicles on land.
A third-party motor vehicle insurance coverage guarantees that if an accident happens and/or damage occurs to another person’s vehicle, the expenses of the accident or damage are covered by the insurer of the person who caused the accident or damage.
We must not forget Directive 2009/103/EC on civil liability insurance for motor vehicles which governs mandatory motor insurance policies throughout Europe. One of the directive’s main principles is that all motor vehicles in the EU must have third-party liability insurance.
We should also mention that the European Parliament and the Council adopted the Directive (EU) 2021/2118 on 24 November 2021, aiming to modernise and amend the aforementioned directive with a deadline for the transposition of 31 December 2023.
In this blog, we outline the main characteristics of the taxation of motor-related insurance policies.
Premiums derived from motor-related policies are often subject to several types of insurance premium taxes. Class 3 risks are primarily subject to insurance premium tax (IPT), whereas mandatory third-party liability (MTPL) policies are subject to a wide range of taxes.
This may include IPT and/or payments to guarantee funds, as well as additional levies, charges, or contributions such as:
There is also the traffic safety fee, Automobile Rente (CAR) payment, automobile insurance bureau levy and rescue tax. This list goes on.
The disclosure and payment rules are also diverse. These fees can be paid yearly, monthly, quarterly or in instalments – with or without prepayments or final adjustments.
If IPT is charged on the motor hull or the MTPL policies, it is typically based on the premium amounts received, with the tax being a percentage of the premium. This is not the case in Austria, for example, where the computation of MTPL taxes is complicated.
The tax is calculated based on the engine’s horsepower and CO2 emissions. It also varies depending on the registration date of the vehicle, the frequency of payment and whether the 2017/1151 EU law applies to the vehicle. On top of that, no payment is due if the size of the engine does not reach 24kW or 65 kW. Contrary to the Austrian example, the IPT rate in Hungary is 23% – based on the premium amount.
Contributions to the Guarantee Fund are typically calculated as a percentage of the premium, as in France, Greece or Sweden. However, this fee can also be fixed as it is in Denmark, for example.
Most countries exempt premium amounts from policies covering motor hull or MTPL risks based on the following:
If the vehicle is operated by the authorities – such as police vehicles, fire trucks, or ambulances – or the armed services, it is typically exempt. Cars driven by disabled individuals and buses used for public transportation are likewise excluded in most cases. Insurance policies covering electric or hybrid vehicles may be excluded as well.
Sovos can provide advice on motor-related insurance premium taxation. Our compliance team may be able to help you in settling IPT in various countries across Europe, contact us today.
Much of the discussion on the Location of Risk triggering a country’s entitlement to levy insurance premium tax (IPT) and parafiscal charges focuses on the rules for different types of insurance. European Union (EU) Directive 2009/138/EC (Solvency II) set out these rules. However, a related topic of growing importance in this area concerns territoriality, i.e. the geographical scope of taxing policies and the different approaches taken by countries in Europe.
It is important to note that this topic should not lead to double taxation for policies involving EU insurers and EU risks becoming an issue as this would be in contravention of Solvency II. It is more that a lack of consistency of geographical scope application across Europe could lead to cases of insurers being unsure of whether some policies should be taxed and where this should be.
There are several fixed energy installations that are commonly situated offshore from a given country. Examples of these are oil rigs, gas platforms and wind farms. The current push towards renewable energy sources could see countries increase their use of wind power in particular. This could lead to an increase in fixed energy installations in future.
These types of offshore installations are expensive forms of property and there is a need for insurance to provide coverage for any damage suffered. Coverage would also typically include associated liability, business interruption, and other financial loss coverage.
Based on the rules at EU level, insurance relating to offshore installations is generally interpreted as taxable in the country the property is situated. This is because they fall within the definition of being a building if they’re fixed to the seabed. This raises the question of when to consider an offshore installation as situated in a country.
In some European countries, the position is fairly clear. For example, for IPT purposes the territorial scope of the United Kingdom (UK) consists of Great Britain, Northern Ireland, and waters within 12 nautical miles of their coastline (its territorial sea). As such, insurance for installations within this territorial scope is taxable in the UK, whereas anything beyond the 12 nautical miles is not.
Some countries like Germany refer in their IPT law to the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea establishes this zone, mandating it can be no more than 200 nautical miles from a country’s coastline. Again, the taxability in these countries is simple based on an application of the limit in place.
There has been a lack of clarity in those countries where the IPT legislation does not make reference to any geographical scope. In the past insurers may have interpreted this as a country’s decision not to tax offshore risks. There are obvious concerns with this presumption if the tax authority becomes aware of insurance provided within its territorial sea or EEZ but without any tax payment. The waters are further muddied if legislation for other taxes (like VAT) refer to one of these limits as there is an argument that this limit could be extended to apply to IPT as well.
We are aware of an ongoing court case within an EU jurisdiction on the applicability of IPT to policies covering offshore installations. It may be several years before the outcome of the case is known if it goes through the appeals procedure, potentially up to the European Court of Justice. In the meantime, insurers may consider taxing offshore policies even where the geographical limit of a country is not defined in its IPT law. This is with a view to avoiding any such dispute themselves.
Need to discuss IPT and territoriality further? Sign up for our webinar IPT: Location of Risk and Territoriality in the EU on 8 June 2023.
Drone usage has increased significantly in recent decades, far beyond their initial use in the military.
They can be expensive themselves and, equally, can also cause damage to other parties or property, which is why many people and companies choose to insure them. This blog considers the insurance premium tax (IPT) and parafiscal charge treatment of drone insurance.
Sometimes called an unmanned aerial vehicle or UAV, a drone is an aircraft without any human pilot, crew or passengers on board. People can use drones for either commercial or recreational purposes.
Drone insurance is an example of packaged insurance and can include coverage under many regulatory non-life insurance classes.
Although not an exhaustive list, some of the classes of insurance set at the European Union (EU) level that we may see in such insurance are:
As an example of a packaged insurance policy, drone insurance is taxed based on each element of cover. Insurers should therefore apportion their premiums and tax each element accordingly, potentially resulting in many different tax rates in a given country.
First and foremost, it is essential to determine the registered territory of the drone – if it has one. If registered, the location of risk is reasonably straightforward under EU rules. Any IPT or parafiscal charges due will be in the Member State of the registration of the drone because it is considered a type of vehicle, namely an aircraft.
The issue is more complicated when a business or individual has not registered a drone in any country. This is the case with most drones used for commercial purposes if they are under a specific weight threshold. Parallels can be drawn with space insurance here, as the policy can have different risk locations for different coverages.
Any liability or miscellaneous financial loss coverage is taxed where the policyholder has their habitual residence or in the case of legal persons where they have their establishment.
Property coverage, including the storage of a drone in a building for more than the market practice of 60 days, is taxed where the property is situated.
Any coverage relating to the transportation of a drone to and from different locations is a goods in transit risk. The location of risk depends on whether a business or individual is using the drone for commercial or recreational purposes.
If used for commercial purposes, the location of risk should be where the policyholder has their habitual residence or establishment. If used for recreational purposes, then – under EU location of risk rules – the drone should theoretically be treated as movable property taxable in the Member State where it is situated – if it is contained in a building there.
Looking for more information on drone insurance? Speak to our expert team.
Following the publication of various circulars by the Federal Ministry of Finance in Germany in 2021, rules on the taxation of guarantee commitments were made effective 1 January 2023. This blog explains how this affects insurers and other suppliers.
The Ministry of Finance published its initial circular in May 2021. This was in response to a Federal Fiscal Court judgment. It concerned a seller of motor vehicles providing a guarantee to buyers beyond the vehicle’s warranty.
In these circumstances, the circular confirmed that the guarantee is not an ancillary service to vehicle delivery but is deemed to be an insurance benefit. As such, it would attract IPT instead of VAT – unless the guarantee is considered a full maintenance contract.
The circular did not prompt immediate concern within the insurance sector. Markets outside the motor vehicle industry weren’t concerned either. The presumption was that it was limited to the specific context of the motor vehicle industry.
Matters changed the following month. The Ministry of Finance clarified that the tax principles it outlined in fact applied to all industries. As a result, the scope of these rules became potentially limitless in Germany. All guarantees provided as additional products to goods or services sold are now within the scope of the application of IPT.
The clarification could impact industries like those organisations selling electrical items and household appliances.
The effect on traditional insurance companies should be relatively limited as they do not usually provide guarantees as part of the sales of goods and services. There could arguably be a significant impact on other suppliers that do provide such guarantees.
First and foremost, there is a potential increase in the cost of providing the guarantees caused by the application of IPT. Unlike input VAT, a supplier cannot deduct IPT from its taxable income – it must either increase prices to compensate or accept a less favourable profit margin.
Any companies that purchase the guarantees cannot reclaim the IPT either, as they can do with VAT. The standard IPT rate of 19% in Germany is high compared to most European countries. This exacerbates these issues.
There are also practical considerations to bear in mind for suppliers obliged to settle IPT with the tax authority. They are presumably required to be registered for IPT purposes like insurers, although the Ministry of Finance has not formally confirmed this.
Perhaps more difficult is the issue of licensing. The Ministry of Finance circulars focus on taxation, leaving it unclear whether other suppliers are now required to obtain a license to write insurance under German regulatory law.
Looking for more information on general IPT matters in Germany? Speak to our expert team. For more information about IPT in general read our guide for insurance premium tax.
Slovenia’s Fire Brigade Tax (FBT) has changed.
The rate increased from 5% to 9%. This came into effect on 1 October 2022. The first submission deadline followed on 15 November 2022.
Unfortunately, the transition has been plagued by problems. We discuss some issues and how Sovos is approaching them.
We had anticipated that the tax return would remain unchanged, with the premium reduction at 20% and the standard at 100% carrying over from the previous version. Instead, the Slovenian tax authorities overhauled the return entirely. This included:
With the combinations, a return could include up to 30 different lines, but the return only includes four – one for each combination.
This layout suggests that the tax authority wishes to combine policies with the same rates, e.g., 100% and 9%.
This differs from previous returns.
Previously each class of business had a separate line. Sovos has contacted the tax authority about the most compliant way to complete this.
Some aesthetic changes caused unexpected issues.
Telephone numbers now have a set number of boxes instead of an open line.
This change doesn’t accommodate longer phone numbers. For example, a UK phone number doesn’t fit.
This requires clarification from the tax authorities:
Postcodes also have the same issue.
As frustrating as these issues are, there is a more significant frustration.
The amount of time between the new return’s publishing and the first submission deadline The new return was published online roughly three weeks before the deadline.
This was a very short turnaround to upload the returns to the systems and solve any problems that may have arisen, as well as informing clients about any new information that may be required here.
Fortunately, no new information was required. Short deadlines to comply with new tax return requirements are a frequent problem we encounter.
Guidance from the tax authority has been inconsistent at best.
For example, the law passed in May 2022 stated the following:
The new Fire Brigade Tax rate would apply to the cash received date. The 9% rate applies to any premiums generated after 1 October 2022.
However, guidance on the official Slovenian tax authority website stated that if the inception date for the policy was before 1 October, the 5% rate would still apply. This is regardless of when the premium was collected. This applies until the policy is renewed. At this point, the 9% rate is applied. This is a significant conflict. It’s potentially millions of euros difference in the amount due. Don’t forget the countless corrections required to balance the books.
As well as being issued late, multiple tax return versions were published online. Only one had the updated tax rate included. The return disappeared from the website and was replaced by the original return.
The English translation and other versions haven’t been updated – this is still the case even after the deadline.
Finally, the guidance on the tax authority’s website states it’s mandatory to submit the FBT returns online through the tax authority portal.
However, official communications from the tax authority directly informed us at Sovos that submissions were required by email only.
Again, this is a significant conflict. Submitting returns through the wrong channel would result in the tax authority declaring the submission late and levying fines.
We have communicated all these issues to the Slovenian tax authority. We haven’t received a response yet, but we will update this blog as soon as we have more information.
Sovos has a wealth of experience that enables us to solve issues that arise and ensure our customers remain compliant with the latest tax requirements.
Want to ensure compliance with the latest Fire Brigade Tax requirements? Speak to our experts.
Until the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, the view was that businesses provide insurance such as Employers’ Liability during normal day-to-day operations. Employers’ Liability insurance is compulsory, protecting a company’s employees and workplace visitors for accidents where a claim needs to be settled.
Following the Covid-19 pandemic, the definition of a workplace has changed. It’s no longer solely an office or factory, now a workplace is likely to include an employee’s home.
Although the world has gotten used to Covid-19, it is something we’ll all have to live with for the foreseeable future. Therefore, all employers have had to consider what future working arrangements they need to have in place based on the type of business.
Companies primarily office-based before the pandemic have taken the opportunity to discuss these future arrangements with employees. Many have adopted hybrid working which includes a combination of office and home working where possible. It does seem very unlikely that in the short-term there will be a move for people to return to working in the office full-time.
Companies will need to consider the events they will need insurance for and how this will impact their current insurance policies.
This means that while they’ll still need mandatory insurance, such as Employers’ Liability, some requirements will likely have a greater impact on the insurance coverage and premiums moving forward.
This could include regular home Health and Safety checks to ensure employees’ working environment meets the company’s rules and regulations. Insurers could require all employers to provide evidence that their employees have passed annual health and safety tests to ensure ongoing compliance. Having this information on file ready to present to insurers if an accident happens at home to an employee during their working day would provide comfort to businesses for future claims that they won’t be rejected.
It’s also worth pointing out that the working day has changed for many, from a strict ‘9 to 5’ to more flexible arrangements to accommodate childcare and other responsibilities. This change in working hours should be taken into consideration by employers and insurers for accident claims that in pre-Covid times would have been outside regular working hours.
The other types of insurance policies likely to be affected by changes in working arrangements are:
Businesses should review all their current insurance policies to ensure they have the necessary coverages in place to protect against these changes in working arrangements. The implications of not getting insurance coverages right could be serious for the company. If this isn’t something they’re looking at already, they should start the process sooner rather than later to avoid potential future problems for themselves and their employees.
Speak to our tax experts for help with business insurance compliance.
Meet the Expert is our series of blogs where we share more about the team behind our innovative software and insurance premium tax (IPT) compliance services.
As a global organisation with indirect tax experts across all regions, our dedicated team are often the first to know about regulatory changes and developments in global tax regimes to support you in your tax compliance.
We spoke with Sean Burton, senior compliance services representative who explained Slovakia’s specific IPT reporting requirements and shared some of his top tips to ensure compliance.
I’m a senior compliance services representative for IPT at Sovos. I joined the company just over three years ago and have mainly worked with clients writing global insurance programmes, exposing me to a wide range of scenarios within IPT.
My day-to-day role now involves overseeing the review and return preparation process for associates and representatives’ data, ensuring accurate submissions are prepared in a timely manner. The final step in this sequence is for me to sign off the final returns and pass them to our client money team. Outside of this work I deal with client queries, assisting with more complex annual reporting requirements and submission of the Slovakian IPT returns.
The IPT tax regime in Slovakia took over from the previous Non-Life Insurance Levy tax on 1 January 2019. Any policies incepted on or after this date are subject to the IPT tax as opposed to the old levy.
The tax rate remained the same at a flat 8% rate across all business classes.
There are three tax points for IPT in Slovakia:
This offers insurers greater flexibility with their tax points in comparison to other territories, allowing the insurer to pay taxes either upfront or spread across multiple returns in installments. The main point here is once a specific tax point has been selected, the insurer must use it for the next eight submission periods. After this they can change the tax point should they wish.
Slovakian IPT is submitted electronically via an online tax portal. The submission and payment are due at the end of each quarter.
As with most territories that have moved to online filings, the Slovakia tax authorities now require more specific information for each policy. As a result, Sovos now requests an additional field in our data template so that we can report this accurately.
Type of movement:
E/R – Issuance of a premium/renewals: grouped on the tax return by class of business. It’s important to note that an overall negative position for a specific business class is not permissible and will be rejected in the Slovakian Tax Portal.
S – Supplementary premium: the case whereby a premium or part thereof, is increased, reduced or cancelled. These premiums are reported within Box 19 on the Slovakian IPT return, where the total can be either positive or negative.
C – Correction of error: In the case of a correction of error a supplementary declaration must be submitted for the appropriate period affected.
This can be a problem for insurers who haven’t previously collated this information and it’s not part of their current internal booking systems, which can take time to update.
Another issue for insurers writing policies with a long duration over a number of years is that whilst the IPT regime took over from the old Non-life insurance levy (NLIL), NLIL can still be due if the policy incepted prior to 2019. Therefore, it’s important for insurers to be aware of this distinction and ensure both taxes are paid accurately.
My top tip for IPT reporting in Slovakia would be to collect as much detailed policy information as possible to complete the separate sections of the IPT return compliantly.
This will also help insurers be organised for any further updates to Slovakian reporting in the future. Requesting detailed policy information is a trend we’re seeing across all territories and insurers need to be prepared for this.
Firstly, at Sovos we have a good connection with local associates in Slovakia. This means we can keep our finger on the pulse with any IPT related legislative changes that arise in Slovakia.
Secondly, the online submission process requires each box to be manually inputted with information such as premium tax amounts, contact information and tax point selection. Leaving this process in our hands will certainly save insurers valuable time.
Have questions about IPT compliance? Speak to our tax experts or download our e-book, Indirect Tax Rules for Insurance Across the World.
Space insurance and the application of IPT on these policies has been a talking point in recent months. The main question? Location of risk.
This blog considers the background and explores the current state of space insurance.
Space insurance typically provides a broad range of coverage relating to spacecraft, such as satellites and rockets, but also covers the vehicle used for launching the spacecraft.
Although not an exhaustive list, some of the classes of insurance set at European Union (EU) level that we expect to be included are:
Given the different elements of coverage possible, it is important to tax each element appropriately.
For example, the portion of the coverage related to damage to the spacecraft itself (including fire) may result in certain parafiscal charges due on property and fire insurance in some countries.
On the other hand, the portion of the coverage relating to the transport of the spacecraft may benefit from one of the exemptions that exists in many EU jurisdictions for goods in transit insurance.
It is worth noting that the United Kingdom has an IPT exemption relating to contracts of insurance for the operation of spacecraft within certain classes of business (including those classes identified above). The scope includes the operation of the spacecraft during launch, flight, orbit or re-entry, and the operation of the launch vehicle and any business interruption cover. This does not, however, extend to risks relating to spacecraft construction.
There may be multiple risk locations depending on the specific coverages provided on the policy.
When parts of a spacecraft are manufactured and then subsequently assembled, for example, they are considered moveable property and, as such, would be taxable in the property’s location based on EU rules, if contained in a building there.
When transporting spacecraft ahead of launch, then it would be taxable in the location of the establishment of the policyholder to which the insurance contract relates. Similarly, risks covering the launch, ongoing operation of the spacecraft once in orbit, and during the de-commissioning stage should be expected to be taxed in the same way.
From discussions within the market, we are aware that the practice has generally been to treat space policies as wholly exempt from IPT and parafiscal charges. This is rather than taking the approach to look at each element of the policy to see if they should be taxed, and if so, then how should the location of risk rules be applied to determine the correct country or countries.
Despite this practice, the market is presently rethinking its approach to taxing these policies. This is to mitigate the risk of assessments from EU tax authorities claiming for unpaid taxes. Subject to any future legal rulings affecting the market, the likely outcome is that IPT and parafiscal charges are charged as outlined unless there is a specific exemption.
Still trying to figure out how to approach space insurance? Get in touch with our IPT experts and request
There are several countries within the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) that have introduced a Fire Brigade Tax (FBT). Fire Brigade Tax is payable on certain premium amounts and usually in addition to Insurance Premium Tax (IPT).
Fire Brigade Tax, or the Fire Brigade Charge (FBC) or Fire Protection Fee (FPF) as it’s known in some territories, is levied on the proportion of the premium that covers fire risks. Fire Brigade Tax is calculated on the fire premium multiplied by the applicable Fire Brigade Tax rate, which seems straightforward but, as is often the case with IPT, some countries have made this calculation quite complex.
This blog summarises the challenges around Fire Brigade Tax calculation and what to consider when calculating Fire Brigade Tax, as well as including country specific rules. For further information about country specific Fire Brigade Tax rules read our blog posts about UK, Portugal and Slovenia.
Solvency II Directive 2009/138/EC doesn’t provide a definition of fire proportion.
The following approach is the most common way to determine the fire proportion of FBT regulations (e.g. Austria).
In Luxembourg the rule is as follows: where the fire and natural forces element cannot be separately identified, the 6% rate applies to 40% of the premium in case of household contents or 50% of the premium in case of non-household contents. This is based on guidance issued by the Luxembourg Tax Office.
In Belgium, the taxable premium for Security Fund for Fire and Explosion charge (Fire INAMI) is dependent on the type of risk covered. The fire proportion is determined by the Law on compulsory healthcare and compensation insurance. For example, for premiums covering terrorism risks the fire proportion is 35%, while for electricity risk it’s 10%. It‘s not possible to deviate from these dictated fire proportions.
In Austria the fire proportion rate can be determined by the insurer based on the covered risks.
An interesting example of Fire Brigade Tax calculation is Finland where the taxable basis of IPT is increased by the amount of calculated Fire Brigade Tax.
As these examples demonstrate, there are many different approaches to the Fire Brigade Tax. Insurers need to stay up-to-date with the local Fire Brigade Tax regulations to correctly calculate the Fire Brigade Tax amount.
When calculating the fire proportion, it’s important to understand that Fire Brigade Tax is not only applicable for fire risks but is due on other risks too. Understanding what risks may trigger Fire Brigade Tax liability requires familiarising ourselves in the mappings of the covered risks.
The immediate answer is Class 8, Fire and Natural Forces. According to Annex I of the Solvency II Directive Class 8, Fire and natural forces covers “All damage to or loss of property (other than property included in classes 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7) due to fire, explosion, storm, natural forces other than storm, nuclear energy, land subsidence.”
And from this definition it’s not difficult to figure out what other classes may be impacted by Fire Brigade Tax. So, these are Class 3 Land Vehicles, Class 4 Railway rolling stock, Class 5 Aircraft, Class 6 Ships, Class 7 Goods in Transit and Class 9 Other Damage to Property.
From a risks point of view, Fire Brigade Tax is usually charged on theft, hail and frost damages on top of the fire, storms or land subsidence.
Up-to date knowledge of the Fire Brigade Tax rates is required to calculate Fire Brigade Tax. Plus, you also need to know how the settlement is working, that is where to declare Fire Brigade Tax, what form should be used and the payment method etc.
Staying up to date with Fire Brigade Tax rates is even more important. In our ever-changing world tax rates increase and decrease constantly depending on the climate and politics.
Fire Brigade Tax rates vary across the EU. In Slovenia Fire Brigade Tax rates increased from 5% to 9% as of 1 October 2022. The new rate is applicable to policies that were cashed on or after 1 October 2022.
In some countries there are no separate Fire Brigade Tax regimes as such, but if fire is covered by the premium, then the applicable Insurance Premium Tax rate is higher. Examples include France and Greece. In Greece if the premium covers fire risks a higher IPT rate of 20% is applicable.
There are countries (Iceland), where, broadly speaking, Insurance Premium Tax applies only if fire is covered.
And lastly, there are countries where separate Fire Brigade Tax regimes exist and Fire Brigade Tax is calculated on the fire proportion and the applicable Fire Brigade Tax rate is applied. Examples include Austria, Germany and Luxembourg.
The Fire Brigade Tax rates discussed so far are in territories where the taxable premium rate model is used. However, there are Fire Brigade Tax regimes using other rate models too, like the sum insured. This is the case in Liechtenstein where Fire Brigade Tax is calculated based on the value of the property.
Within the frame of this topic, it’s also worth mentioning that Fire Brigade Tax can be insurer borne, insured borne or both. In Austria for example, 4% of the Fire Brigade Tax is insured borne and is invoiced to the policyholder as an addition to the premium and the other 4% is insurer borne and is deducted from the collected premium.
Completing the Fire Brigade Tax obligation requires submitting the tax declaration and paying the corresponding tax. These two processes can be referred to as settlement.
The variety of Fire Brigade Tax settlement processes is colourful. Differences exist in:
For compliant tax settlement, it’s vital that understanding and interpretation of Insurance Premium Tax regulation is up-to-date and accurate.
Need to learn more about Fire Brigade Tax regimes? Contact Sovos’ IPT expert team who are happy to help you.
Update: 27 July 2023 by Edit Buliczka
The registration requirements for settling taxes in a country are similar – if not the same, usually involving the central tax administration or tax authority.
This, however, is not always the case and there are exceptions. For example, due to a recent change in Austria, the registration requirements for Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) in favour of third-country insurers have been modified.
Third-country insurers can register and settle IPT liabilities directly with the Austrian Tax Office under this legislation, which takes effect on 1 January 2024. Currently, IPT payable on insurance premiums with third-country insurers must be handled by an authorised representative or the policyholder.
In Austria, IPT is levied on the collected premium and Fire Brigade Tax (FBT) may also be due if the policy includes fire risks.
The Austrian Tax Office has not changed the law that governs FBT rules. The FBT legislation is simpler than the IPT law, with no special regulations for local, EU or EEA-based or third-country insurers. The FBT Law states: “if the insurer has no domicile (seat) in a contracting state of the Agreement on the European Economic Area, but an authorised representative has been appointed to accept the insurance premium, then the latter is liable for the tax.”
There’s a possibility the FBT laws were purposefully left unaltered because the term “insurer” may be understood in a way that covers third-country insurers. As a result, third-country insurers can already register directly with the Austrian Tax Office for FBT purposes.
Interestingly, in Austria, both IPT and FBT are controlled by the Central Tax Administration – commonly referred to as the Austrian Tax Office and there is just one taxID used for both IPT and FBT.
Contact our team of experts if you have any questions concerning the Austrian IPT Registration.
Update: 4 October 2022 by Dawn Rowlands
Registering for IPT across Europe is often complex and can raise several additional questions. This is particularly pertinent if your company has branches established in different territories: can we register our head office and file a single return for all branches via this registration? What about branches operating on a freedom of service (FoS) basis? What about domestic branches? Is it mandatory or optional to register branches?
Before we dive into these questions, let’s take a closer look at why branches are useful. Some insurers prefer to have a separate IPT registration for their branches, even if it’s not a mandatory requirement of the country. It’s often an easier method of handling IPT compliance for the country, based on the reports generated from internal accounting systems. For acquisitive insurance companies who may be using legacy systems, it’s simpler to have individual branch registrations rather than consolidating all branches into a single return filed via the head office.
For many territories, it’s not mandatory to have branches operating as it’s possible for EU domiciled companies to register and file taxes through their head office, operating under FoS across the European Union. However, this is territory dependent and some require branch registration, as we will explain later.
In addition to the registration of your head office operating on a FoS basis, it’s also possible to register branches in some territories. Each branch must also be authorised independently by the regulators in their country of domicile to operate on a FoS basis.
In some territories such as Spain, Portugal and Italy it’s not mandatory to have a branch as taxes can be filed via a company’s head office. However, if your company does operate branches in these territories it is mandatory to be registered separately to head office. This requires companies with multiple branches to have multiple registrations, each with their own independent tax identification number. The registrations are managed separately, and a tax return is required for each of them.
Country requirements are also subject to change. For example, in Austria it was previously mandatory for branches to be registered separately to their head office. This rule changed and branch registrations are no longer permitted, with all returns being filed through the FoS head office. Any existing branch registrations had to be deregistered with the Austrian tax authorities.
A domestic branch is a branch of a company whose headquarters are located in a different country to where the branch is domiciled, and where the registration is required. For example, your head office could be in Germany, you write insurance business liable to IPT in Italy and you have an established branch domiciled in Italy – the Italian branch will be considered as your domestic branch.
If your company has branches and wishes to register for IPT in the country where your branch is domiciled, some tax authorities insist the domestic branch has a separate registration to its head office. This applies in Hungary, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, and Spain.
In some instances, domestic branches will have different tax points to those operating under FoS.
If a branch or head office operating in the territory is operating noncompliantly, this will directly impact all parts of the business operating in the territory, and the fines will be levied accordingly.
Want to learn more about branches and IPT registration? Speak to Sovos’ tax experts today.
Continuing our IPT prepayment series, we take a look at Italy’s requirements. In previous articles we have looked at Belgium, Austria, and Hungary.
All insurers authorised to write business under the Italian regime have a legal obligation to make an advance annual payment for the following year. Refer to this blog for a general overview for IPT in Italy.
The amount of prepayment is calculated as a percentage of the total IPT and Anti-Racket contribution made in the previous year, deducting any IPT paid in respect of Motor Third-Party Liability business. The IPT prepayment rates increased from 85% for tax year 2020 to 90% for 2021 and 100% for tax year 2022 onwards.
All insurers writing non-life insurance risks in Italy need to pay 100% of their 2021 tax bill in November 2022 as a 2023 prepayment, in anticipation of their future tax liabilities. Once settled, the prepayment can be offset against IPT liabilities (excluding Motor third-party liabilities) arising from February 2023, when the January 2023 tax liabilities are due. Businesses can use excess prepayment to offset tax liabilities in the next period or offset against the next prepayment.
Prepayment is due by 16 November each year. No prepayment is required if the insurance company deregistered for IPT purposes prior to the prepayment deadline. Penalties and interest for late payments are strictly applied by the Italian tax authorities. They are time sensitive and calculated daily and payable alongside tax liabilities/prepayments.
Where the prepayment for the year is not fully utilised, balances can be carried forward to offset against future liabilities or used towards next year’s prepayments. If a company is no longer writing business in Italy and doesn’t expect further premiums to be received, they should formally file for a reclaim of any prepayment credits. Recovery is made through a formal reclaim and takes significant time (a few years) for the authorities to process and return the funds.
Although prepayment shouldn’t represent an additional cost to insurance transactions, it can pose some cash flow considerations for insurers. It’s Important to note prepayment is due on a historical basis and cannot be settled based on an estimate of future tax liabilities. The legal obligation to pay the prepayment doesn’t cease, even if the insurance company foresees termination of their insurance risks in Italy. This creates issues for insurance companies winding down their Italian exposures, starting underwriting Italian risks through EU based subsidiaries, or when closing the business.
Most UK insurers changed their company structure due to Brexit. A special application for transferring the prepayment credit needs to be made to the Italian tax authorities for mergers or portfolio transfers and a response or approval from the tax office can take significant time.
When an insurer is exiting Italy, be it due to Brexit or any other reason, being aware of their current and ongoing prepayment obligations is key to minimising unnecessary pain in the future.
It’s time to return to Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) prepayments – a continuation of our blog series on this important IPT topic. You can find the first entry in our blog series here.
IPT is declared and settled differently throughout Europe. Monthly, quarterly, or biannual declarations – the frequency varies across Member States – and some jurisdictions request prepayments to ensure the liabilities due from insurance companies are collected in good stead.
Hungary is one country where legislation states prepayments are required. However, the prepayment obligation is a new requirement, introduced alongside the so called ‘extra profit tax’ or supplemental IPT, which is payable on an annual basis. No prepayment is required in relation to the ‘normal’ insurance premium tax paid monthly.
Prepayments are defined as a tax payment credit made to a tax authority before the payment is actually incurred.
This prepayment tax will be deducted to cover the tax liabilities until the total credit is used, then current liabilities must be paid by the basis applied in each “jurisdiction“.
You can learn more about IPT prepayments in our blog.
Before the introduction of extra profit tax, or supplemental IPT, prepayment for IPT in Hungary wasn’t a requirement. The ‘normal’ IPT is paid monthly with no prepayment obligation and there is no need to submit an annual return.
In Hungary the prepayment concept is used for taxes where there is an annual declaration obligation, such as in the case of corporation tax.
Regarding IPT, the prepayment obligation was introduced with the extra profit tax regime. Extra profit tax or supplemental IPT is an annual tax. This might be the reason for the introduction of the prepayment obligation for this tax type.
Supplemental IPT prepayment is due on 30 November 2022 regarding 2022 (bi)annual supplemental IPT, while for 2023 the prepayment is due by 31 May 2023.
Based on the original concept, the basis of the prepayment for 2022 was the premium collected during the period between July 2021 and June 2022, applying the rates applicable for 2022. However, this was modified shortly after the issuance of the Government Decree of 197/2022 on extra profit taxes.
This adjustment most likely occurred as the original concept would have generated a substantial overpayment since the base period to calculate 2022 prepayment is one year and the supplemental tax is due only for the second half of 2022. According to the updated rules the basis of the 2022 prepayment remained the same but the applicable rates were changed from 2022 rates to the rates normally applicable for 2023. The 2023 rates are half of the 2022 rates, decreasing the prepayment amount by reducing the rate instead of changing the base period from one year to half year.
Regarding 2023, the calculation of the prepayment is equal to the supplemental tax paid for 2022 in January 2023.
The tax office confirmed that any overpayment regarding the extra profit tax/supplemental IPT can be offset against the ’normal’ IPT and vice versa. This is because the extra profit tax has the same tax code (number 200) and is payable to the same bank account as the IPT.
For example, if the prepayment for 2022 is higher than the 2022 extra profit tax there will be an overpayment on the 200 tax account at the end of January. This overpayment can be offset against the January 2023 IPT liabilities which are payable by 20 February 2023. Or if the insurance company has an IPT overpayment at the end of November 2022, this overpayment can be used to cover the extra profit tax/supplemental IPT prepayment obligation.
Get in touch with our tax experts today for advice on how to navigate this often confusing IPT procedure.
In the next edition of our series of blogs in Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) prepayments, we look at a less familiar regime to many, the Austrian IPT Prepayment.
Those who are well versed in the IPT sphere will be perplexed at this blog, as they most likely will never have paid a prepayment in Austria.
This is because the prepayment is only due in the event of the November tax period being paid late. Due to the elongated deadline of Austrian IPT and Fire Brigade Tax (FBT) this rarely happens in practice. As a reminder, the tax payment in Austria must be made by the 15th day (due date) of the second consecutive month (i.e January 2022 period due 15 March 2022).
But what if the November deadline isn’t paid in full by the 15 December? A special advance payment of 1/12 of the sum of the calculated tax amounts of the last 12 tax return periods must be made. This special advance payment is credited against a subsequent self-calculation for the declaration period of November.
With respect to IPT, FBT and Vehicle Insurance Tax (VIT), the rules are as follows:
Insurers should be aware that whilst tax payments are paid monthly, the return is due on an annual basis, the deadline being 30 April. The return(s) includes the tax ID, name of the insurer, tax amount on a per month basis, and the amount paid in tax for the year in question thus far.
For FBT liabilities the amount is split evenly between the insured and the insurer. So, for a risk with 100% fire portion and €100.00 premium, in addition to the €11.00 IPT amount the insured would also pay €4.00 FBT. The remaining €4.00 of FBT would be from the insurer.
From an exemptions perspective there is quite an exhaustive list in Austria. Some of which are export credit, cross-border cargo, reinsurance, and livestock (If the insured amount doesn’t exceed €3.650, as well as insurance of livestock with a small livestock insurance association).
Keeping abreast of changes in IPT compliance requirements in Austria and across the EU can be challenging. Our team of experts can guide you through the details and ensure you are on the right compliance path.
Meet the Expert is our series of blogs where we share more about the team behind our innovative software and insurance premium tax (IPT) compliance services.
As a global organisation with indirect tax experts across all regions, our dedicated team are often the first to know about regulatory changes and developments in global tax regimes, to support you in your tax compliance.
We spoke with Mai Nguyen, senior compliance services representative who explained why it’s so important for insurers to get IPT filing right and shared her top three tips for submitting IPT liabilities.
I’m a senior compliance services representative – specialising in IPT at Sovos. I joined the company over four years ago and I deal with a diverse portfolio of 30+ clients, helping them with the entire cycle of IPT submission.
My team reviews data provided by our clients, creates a summary of tax due and confirms IPT and parafiscal liabilities due for a specific period. My day-to-day tasks include approving the IPT liabilities to be declared correctly and compliantly and authorising payments to be made on behalf of our clients.
My role is to oversee the day-to-day operational management whilst ensuring all compliance requirements are met consistently. I also work closely with clients to answering their queries to ensure their IPT submissions meet the strict regulations set by global tax offices.
The IPT filing process varies from one territory to another and it’s crucial for insurers to follow it accurately and compliantly. There are many elements that need to be considered in this process:
IPT filings can be made online in Portugal, Spain, Ireland, Finland and Germany. This filing method is becoming a common trend and is likely to be introduced in other jurisdictions.
In Portugal a data file must be uploaded to a web portal which requires detailed information for each policy such as NIF number (policyholder Tax ID), postcode, country code and territoriality.
In Spain the IPT portal determines the declaration period for each transaction, tax payment or any interest payment due. The portal links the payments due directly to the bank account, meaning the payment is made by direct debit.
IPT filings can be made by post or in person. With any method, it’s important to make sure that deadlines are met to avoid unnecessary penalties.
The consequence of noncompliance is not only the penalty or interest regimes imposed by tax offices but also the indirect costs to insurers which are more significant. These can include the cost for correcting the mistake, as well as additional associate or representative costs. Noncompliance could also have an adverse impact on the insurer’s reputation.
To avoid the unnecessary consequence of noncompliance when submitting IPT liabilities, here are my three top tips:
It can be very challenging for insurers to ensure that IPT is declared accurately and compliantly while adhering to the latest rules and regulations. Here at Sovos, our dedicated IPT Compliance Services team is equipped with in-depth expertise and the most up-to-date changes to help insurers meet all IPT requirements to make submissions efficient and compliant.
All IPT compliance information can be found through Sovos’ blogs, webinars, tax alerts, LinkedIn, Twitter and newsletters.
It’s time to return to Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) prepayments – a continuation of our blog series on this important IPT topic. You can find the first entry in our blog series here.
Throughout Europe’s different countries and jurisdictions, IPT is declared and settled in different ways. Monthly, quarterly, biannually – this varies across Member States – and some jurisdictions request prepayments to ensure the liabilities due from insurance companies are collected in good stead.
Belgium is one country that states within its legislation that IPT prepayments are required.
You can learn more about IPT prepayments in this blog however for those who missed our coverage on the topic, prepayments can be defined as a tax payment credit made to a tax authority before the payment is actually incurred.
This prepayment tax will be deducted to cover the tax liabilities until the total credit is used up and then current liabilities must be paid by the basis applied in each jurisdiction.
Each jurisdiction uses a different method to apply prepayments and we explain how this is legislated in Belgium.
The prepayment is due no later than 15 December each year. The tax base for the prepayment will be the amount paid in November of the current year, that is based on the tax liabilities of the October period.
It’s important to follow the state on the Belgium tax law in order to pay and submit the return within the deadline because when the tax hasn’t been paid within the deadlines set out previously, penalties will automatically be due to the Belgium tax authority from the day the payment should have been made.
The previous prepayment will be deducted during the next tax period (December, January, February and March) correspondingly submitted in January, February, March and April.
What happens if an insurance company paid the prepayment but during the three first months, the insurance company has not used that credit, perhaps because no policies were subscribed and therefore no submission or payment was due?
In these cases, the entire, or part of the prepayment is still pending to be deducted and a formal reclaim should be requested to the tax authority in order to obtain the unused prepayment.
Although this appears to be a simple process, not following the rules or not processing the returns, payments, or refunds within the correct deadlines can see the insurance company receive penalties or obtaining the refund for the unused prepayment could be prevented.
Speak to our team today for advice on how to navigate this often confusing tax procedure.
The Dutch government issued an updated Policy Statement for Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) on 12 May 2022. The first of its kind since February 2017, the update is intended to replace the 2017 version in full. While the majority of the content remained consistent, there were notable details pertaining to Netherlands storage insurance and ‘own transport’ insurance. These changes will be effective from 13 May 2023.
The change extends the scope of storage insurance that can still be regarded as goods in transit insurance, increasing from storage of up to one month to three months. It may even be possible to show goods in transit insurance applies for storage greater than three months, but the onus is on the insurer to prove an absolutely necessary connection between storage and transport.
It’s general market practice in the EU to consider storage of up to 60 days as being part of the goods in transit coverage, making the Dutch approach more flexible in this regard. Any goods stored beyond the 60 days are treated as a property risk, taxable where the goods are located and not where the policyholder has their establishment.
It’s useful to consider this change from the perspective of both IPT rate application and location of risk. In terms of the former, the IPT exemption applicable to all goods in transit insurance in the Netherlands widens this exemption to policies involving longer periods of storage.
Regarding location of risk, the relevant provisions in EU Directive 2009/138/EC determine that in the case of goods in commercial transit risks, the risk location (and therefore the country entitled to levy IPT and/or associated levies) is the policyholder’s establishment to which the contract relates. Where storage insurance does not constitute goods in commercial transit, the risk location is the location of the property itself.
As a result, goods stored in the Netherlands for more than three months as part of a transport policy will generally be taxable there, even where the policyholder’s establishment is elsewhere. Whereas goods stored in the Netherlands for less than three months will not be taxable in the country (unless the policyholder’s establishment is also in the Netherlands).
The other key takeaway from the Policy Statement was on the subject of ‘own transport’. This is defined as transport ‘where no transport company is contracted, but commercial transport is involved’, confirming the exemption for transport insurance is equally applicable to scenarios where companies arrange for the transportation of commercial goods for their own benefit. As such, the exemption is not restricted to third-party contractors utilised for the transport.
The Policy Statement also states the exemption applies to:
However, the exemption does not apply to insurance of own goods which, although transported are not for the sole purpose of transferring it to another place of destination. This could include the tools of a contractor that are stored in his delivery van.
The changes outlined above are relatively minor given they relate solely to goods in transit business. One more fundamental change that had been mooted as a possibility was for the Netherlands to introduce stricter rules on the application of IPT to non-EEA risks, as we saw in Germany at the end of 2020.
The scope of the changes in Germany caused considerable confusion in the market at the time so it’s possible the Dutch government has put any potential plans on hold for now. This will be an interesting issue to monitor as countries seek out alternative ways to generate tax income.
Want to understand more about how these changes affect your business? Get in touch with our team of experts to see how Sovos can help ease your IPT compliance burden.