When considering motor insurance, it’s worth remembering that everything is high – from tax rates to the amount of administration required.
This blog explains motor insurance in Europe, covering the types of applicable taxes, how they are calculated, vehicle exemptions and more.
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.
Are you in search of a new Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) provider? Need guidance on making a smooth transition? Join our exclusive live Q&A webinar, “Choosing a New IPT Provider,” where we’ll address all your inquiries and help you confidently navigate this important decision.
Changing IPT providers can be a daunting process, but we’re here to simplify the transition for you with our industry expertise and hands-on experience. Our team has successfully assisted numerous clients in finding the right IPT solution that aligns with their needs, and we’re excited to share our knowledge with you.
Join Sovos’ IPT experts Bev Gunner, Sudhan Ramesh and Dawn Rowlands, as well as Allianz’s Andreas Kessler for an insightful session where we’ll dive into the intricacies of selecting a new IPT provider and answer your burning questions about the transition process. Don’t let uncertainty hold you back – empower yourself with the knowledge you need to make a well-informed choice.
Remaining IPT compliant in a changing landscape of Insurance Premium Tax is paramount for all insurers. In this webinar, Sovos’ IPT experts are delving into the critical aspects Location of Risk rules and territoriality in the EU.
Join Sovos’ IPT experts for insights into the legal framework around Location of Risk and territoriality within the EU. They will also delve into the relevant European Court of Justice cases that have shaped their application within the EU.
Register today to find out about the different approaches taken by Member States in handling the geographical scope of taxing insurance policies. Additionally, find out about the potential issues that arise for insurers as a result of these varying approaches.
Join us as our experts uncover the key points your business needs to consider around complex IPT topics. There will also be a change to ask your questions at the Q&A section at the end.
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.
The ever-changing Insurance Premium Tax rules and regulations can be challenging to keep up with, so staying on top of the latest developments in IPT compliance is key.
Join Sovos’ Edit Buliczka, Senior Regulatory Counsel, and Christopher Branch, Junior Regulatory Counsel in a webinar on regulatory analysis, where they will cover the recent updates and changes in IPT in Europe.
Register for our webinar to discover more information about:
Find out more about the impact of these regulatory changes on your IPT obligations and how to ensure compliance with the latest regulations.
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.
Sovos’ IPT expert Hector Fernandez takes a deep dive into Spain’s Insurance Compensation Consortium (Consorcio de Compensación de Seguros, or CCS). Hector provides valuable information for insurance professionals interested in staying up to date with the latest developments in CCS regulations and their impact on Insurance Premium Tax.
Attend the webinar for:
This guide to Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) is for insurers, brokers and anyone needing to understand IPT compliance. From tax managers to financial controllers and compliance managers, this guide provides information and advice for all those working in tax compliance.
Insurance Premium Tax is complex. The fragmented rules and requirements of different jurisdictions makes calculating and settling IPT accurately and on time a significant undertaking.
This guide will:
There are five key elements to determining Insurance Premium Tax
Calculating Insurance Premium Tax varies by country. There are multiple ways to calculate Insurance Premium Tax, including percentage rate, fixed amounts, sliding scales and other models.
Use our Guide to IPT to understand all the elements of it and how to navigate complex territories.
In the UK insurers and intermediaries who receive taxable insurance premiums must register and account for Insurance Premium Tax (IPT). Registration requirements vary by country so it’s important to comply with country specific registration requirements.
Registering for Insurance Premium Tax country to country. It’s important to follow the registration process, checking timelines and required documentation ahead of time to avoid delays and potential penalties.
Insurance Premium Tax rates can increase for different reasons. When announcing a rate increase, tax authorities will provide information about when the new rate comes into effect and any other changes that affect IPT payments and submissions.
Sovos’ IPT Determination solution is the first virtual end-to-end IPT compliance solution that enables you to confidently calculate and apply global IPT rates at quotation. Real-time tax updates ensure tax rates and tax applicability are always accurate.
Learn more about how IPT Determination can help insurers that are writing complex global programmes.
Want to ease the burden on your tax teams? Sovos’ IPT Managed Services provides support from our team of local language regulatory specialists who monitor and interpret IPT regulations around the world so you don’t have to.
In the United Kingdom (UK) and European Economic Area (EEA) the responsibility generally lies with the insurer that has underwritten the policy. There are some cases where a policyholder or intermediary involved in an insurance agreement may need to settle the IPT.
In the UK and EEA, this depends on the type of insurance. Property insurance, vehicle insurance, travel and holiday insurance, and all other insurance follow different approaches. The rules vary outside of the UK and EEA, so it is possible for there to be double taxation where there is a combination of EEA and non-EEA coverage.
The location of risk affects the applicable rate. In many countries, determining the rate is by the type of insurance. Within the EEA, there are 18 main classes of non-life insurance, and it is imperative to determine where insurance coverage falls within these classes. This ensures that taxes are correctly applied.
Learn more about Location of Risk in our ebook.
There are exemptions from IPT in the UK and EEA. Some are highly specific, whilst others are considerably broader. Some exemptions include those seen in relation to goods in transit and sickness insurance, but it is important to review exemptions for each country in which the insurance.
Firstly, consider the date that triggers settlement of an IPT liability. This is usually referred to as a tax point date. It varies from country to country. In most EEA countries and in the UK, the default tax point date is the date the insurer receives a premium from a policyholder.
The IPT payment and declaration process varies across different countries. Some have monthly settlement deadlines. Others may have quarterly, bi-annual, or even annual payment obligations. Payment deadlines and tax return submission deadlines are not always the same.
Additional parafiscal charges are common across the UK and EEA. These are often applied on specific classes of insurance, such as property and fire insurance, but in some countries are broad in their application. These charges often entail additional registrations in a country as there may be separate tax offices that deal with them.
It is possible in some circumstances to reclaim overpaid IPT. This is subject to the rules in place within the country the reclaim is sought, as some countries (notably Italy) have stricter rules in place than others. We recommend maintaining accurate records of any evidence substantiating the reclaim amounts, such as credit notes issued to policyholders, as these are often required.
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.