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How to calculate insurance bond gains: Q&A

Author Image The Technical Team
3 minutes read
Last updated on 1st Feb 2021

What triggers a chargeable event on a bond, and how do you calculate any gain arising?

What is a chargeable event?

Q: What is a chargeable event?

A: A ‘chargeable event’ happens when certain events occur or money is taken out of a bond. Details are available here.

A calculation is done to see if a chargeable event gain arises. 

Type of tax due

Q: What are the tax consequences of a chargeable event gain on a bond?

A: If there is a chargeable event gain then there may be Income Tax due.

Events causing chargeable event gains

Q: What events cause a chargeable event gain?

A: Types of ‘event’ causing a chargeable event gain include:

  • Death of the life assured (or last to die of lives assured) where benefits are payable.
  • Assignment (full or in part) for money or money’s worth.
  • Maturity of the policy.
  • Partial or regular withdrawals across a whole bond, in excess of the 5% tax deferred allowance.
  • Surrender of the bond, whether in full or surrender of segments.

Types of chargeable event gains and when they are reported

Q: How do you know if a chargeable event gain has arisen?

A: Firstly you need to determine the circumstances causing the chargeable event. The type of event will determine the type of chargeable event gain calculation required and, indeed, when the chargeable event gain takes place. There are generally two types of chargeable event gain calculation:

  • Final chargeable event gain.
  • Excess chargeable event gain.    

Q: What’s the difference between a final gain and an excess gain?

A: A final chargeable event, as the name suggests, takes place when the bond, or segments of the bond, end. Events such as surrender in full or segments, death of the life assured giving rise to benefits and maturity are all final chargeable events. 

An excess chargeable event happens when withdrawals are made above a certain limit, but the bond continues with all the segments intact. Part assignments for money or monies worth, and regular or partial withdrawals in excess of the 5% tax deferred allowance are excess chargeable events. 

Q: Why is the excess gain so high when the bond might not made any profit?

A: Chargeable event legislation states that where withdrawals in the policy year exceed cumulative 5% allowances then a chargeable event gain will arise. It is important to remember that this ‘mechanical’ calculation bears no correlation to the economic performance of the bond. 

Q: When is a gain calculation done?

A: A final chargeable event gain is calculated immediately.

An excess chargeable event gain calculation is done at the end of the policy year.       

Formula/calculation to use

Q: Is the chargeable event gain calculation the same for a final and excess gain?

A: No, there are specific formulas for each type 

What is the formula for a final gain?

For full surrender and surrender of segments, calculate the gain as follows:    


Surrender value



Previous withdrawal (sum of regular and partial withdrawals)



Investments in (sum of premiums paid)



Previous excess chargeable event gains



Final chargeable event gain

If you are dealing with a surrender of segments, you need to remember to proportion the figures to the number of segments being encashed. 

What is the formula for an excess gain?

For regular withdrawals and partial withdrawal over the clusters, it is:


Amount withdrawn over the policy year

Compare to

Available 5% tax deferred allowance


Excess chargeable event gain


"Prudential" is a trading name of Prudential Distribution Limited. Prudential Distribution Limited is registered in Scotland. Registered Office at Craigforth, Stirling FK9 4UE. Registered number SC212640. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Prudential Distribution Limited is part of the same corporate group as the Prudential Assurance Company. The Prudential Assurance Company and Prudential Distribution Limited are direct/indirect subsidiaries of M&G plc, a company incorporated in the United Kingdom. These companies are not affiliated in any manner with Prudential Financial, Inc, a company whose principal place of business is in the United States of America or Prudential plc, an international group incorporated in the United Kingdom.