Annuities Purchased Where Certain Claims or Actions are Settled

New clause 13 – in the House of Commons at 4:20 pm on 3rd April 1995.

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`The following sections shall be inserted after section 329 of the Taxes Act 1988— Annuities purchased for certain persons

329A.—(l) In a case where—

  1. (a) an agreement is made settling a claim or action for damages for personal injury,
  2. (b) under the agreement the damages are to consist wholly or partly of periodical payments, and
  3. (c) under the agreement the person entitled to the payments is to receive them as the annuitant under one or more annuities purchased for him by the person against whom the claim or action is brought or, if he is insured against the claim concerned, by his insurer,
the agreement is for the purposes of this section a qualifying agreement.

(2) In a case where—

  1. (a) an agreement is made settling a claim or action for damages for personal injury,
  2. (b) under the agreement the damages are to consist wholly or partly of periodical payments, and
  3. (c) a later agreement is made under which the person entitled to the payments is from a future date to receive them as the annuitant under one or more annuities purchased for him by the person against whom the claim or action is brought or, if he is insured against the claim concerned, by his insurer,
the agreement mentioned in paragraph (c) above is for the purposes of this section a qualifying agreement.

(3) Subsection (4) below applies where—

  1. (a) a person receives a sum as the annuitant under an annuity purchased for him pursuant to a qualifying agreement, or
  2. (b) a person receives a sum on behalf of the annuitant under an annuity purchased for the annuitant pursuant to a qualifying agreement.

(4) Where this subsection applies the sum shall not be regarded as the recipient's or annuitant's income for any purposes of income tax and accordingly shall be paid without any deduction under section 349(1).

(5) Subsections (6) to (10) below apply for the purposes of subsection (1) above.

(6) The periodical payments may be for the life of the claimant, for a specified period or of a specified number or minimum number or include payments of more than one of those descriptions.

(7) The amounts of the periodical payments (which need not be at a uniform rate or payable at uniform intervals) may be—

  1. (a) specified in the agreement, with or without provision for increases of specified amounts or percentages,
  2. (b) subject to adjustment in a specified manner so as to preserve their real value, or
  3. (c) partly specified as mentioned in paragraph (a) and partly subject to adjustment as mentioned in paragraph (b) above.

(8) The annuity or annuities must be such as to provide sums which as to amount and time of payment correspond to the periodical payments described in the agreement.

(9) Personal injury includes any disease and any impairment of a person's physical or mental condition.

(10) A claim or action for personal injury includes—

  1. (a) such a claim or action brought by virtue of the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934;
  2. (b) such a claim or action brought by virtue of the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act (Northern Ireland) 1937;
  3. (c) such a claim or action brought by virtue of the Damages (Scotland) Act 1976;
  4. (d) a claim or action brought by virtue of the Fatal Accidents Act 1976;
  5. (e) a claim or action brought by virtue of the Fatal Accidents (Northern Ireland) Order 1977.

(11) For the purposes of subsection (2) above—

  1. (a) subsections (6), (9) and (10) above apply;
  2. (b) subsection (7) above applies as if the reference to the agreement were to that mentioned in subsection (2)(a) above;
  3. (c) subsection (8) above applies as if the reference to periodical payments described in the agreement were to periodical payments described in the agreement mentioned in subsection (2)(a) above and falling to be made after the later agreement takes effect.

(12) This section does not apply unless the sum concerned is received after the day on which the Finance Act 1995 is passed, but it is immaterial when—

  1. (a) the agreement mentioned in subsection (1) above is made or takes effect, or
  2. (b) either of the agreements mentioned in subsection (2) above is made or takes effect.
Annuities assigned in favour of certain persons

329B.—(1) In a case where—

  1. (a) an agreement is made settling a claim or action for damages for personal injury,
  2. (b) under the agreement the damages are to consist wholly or partly of periodical payments,
  3. (c) the person against whom the claim or action is brought (or, if he is insured against the claim concerned, his insurer) purchases one or more annuities, and
  4. (d) a later agreement is made under which the annuity is, or the annuities are, assigned in favour of the person entitled to the payments so as to secure that from a future date he receives the payments as the annuitant under the annuity or annuities,
the agreement mentioned in paragraph (d) above is for the purposes of this section a qualifying agreement.

(2) Subsection (3) below applies where—

  1. (a) a person receives a sum as the annuitant under an annuity assigned in his favour pursuant to a qualifying agreement, or
  2. (b) a person receives a sum on behalf of the annuitant under an annuity assigned in the annuitant's favour pursuant to a qualifying agreement.

(3) Where this subsection applies the sum shall not be regarded as the recipient's or annuitant's income for any purposes of income tax and accordingly shall be paid without any deduction under section 349(1).

(4) For the purposes of subsection (1) above—

  1. (a) subsections (6), (9) and (10) of section 329A apply;
  2. (b) subsections (7) and (8) of section 329A apply as if references to the agreement were to that mentioned in subsection (1)(a) above.

(5) This section does not apply unless the sum concerned is received after the day on which the Finance Act 1995 is passed, but it is immaterial when either of the agreements mentioned in subsection (1) above is made or takes effect." '—[Sir George Young.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Photo of George Young George Young The Financial Secretary to the Treasury 5:15 pm, 3rd April 1995

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

The object of this clause is to simplify the administration of the payment of agreed damages in cases of personal injury, where the damages are to be paid to the victim of the injury in instalments over a period or for his or her life. It will make it possible for the victim of the injury to receive the damages as an annuity directly from a life insurance company without turning a non-taxable capital sum into income chargeable to tax.

The payment of an annuity directly to the victim of the injury will bring the advantage of protection under the Policyholders Protection Act 1975. Uncertainties as to the long-term financial stability of the payer of the damages will no longer be a significant obstacle to the acceptance of damages in a form which meets the long-term financial needs of the victim.

The clause achieves the objectives of the measure tabled by the hon. Member for Oxford, East (Mr. Smith) in Committee and will, I know, have the support of the whole House. It also represents a first step towards realising our intention, announced to the House on 23 March, of implementing the recommendations made by the Law Commission in its report on structured settlements and interim and provisional damages.

Additionally, the clause breaks new ground by making it possible for existing structured settlements to he renegotiated to come within the new framework. This offers the advantages of long-term security for the individual receiving the damages by instalment payments and of administrative savings for the insurance company paying them. The removal of the territorial restrictions from the measures previously proposed will, we hope, make it easier for an individual suffering an injury when overseas to obtain damages payable through life without taxation disadvantages.

I hope that the measure commends itself to the House.

Photo of Andrew Smith Andrew Smith Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Shadow Spokesperson (Treasury)

I am grateful to the Financial Secretary for acknowledging the role that the Labour party and the Law Commission played in proposing the measure. It is a good measure for all the reasons that the Minister set out, which I do not intend to repeat. It will bring considerable benefit to the victims of accidents and those who suffer injuries. It will stimulate competition in the range of financial instruments which are available to them. It will provide for annuities structured specifically to the varying needs that victims have for the rest of their lives following a severe accident or injury. We welcome the new clause and commend it to the House.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.