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Understanding the 5% Tax Deferred Withdrawal Allowance for bonds: Q&A

2 minutes read
Last updated on 2nd Jan 2020

Common questions answered about the 5% tax deferred allowance and how it works.

What is it

Q: What is the 5% tax deferred allowance?

A: This is a rule in tax law which allows investors to withdraw up to 5% of their investment into a bond, each policy year, without incurring an immediate tax charge. 

Q: Why is the 5% tax deferred allowance important?

A: This is used in the calculation to determine if an Excess Chargeable Gain occurs. This is particularly important if large partial withdrawals across all the segments/clusters of a bond have been made in the policy year. 

If withdrawals (regulars or partial) are taken which exceed the accumulated tax deferred allowance this can cause a large ‘artificial’ or Excess Chargeable Gain.
This can potentially cause a large tax liability, which bears no correlation to the economic performance of the bond.

Calculating the tax deferred allowance

Q: How do you calculate the 5% tax deferred allowance?

A: It's easier to do this by policy year. Here are some pointers to work out the available tax deferred allowance: 

For the first year, compare the tax deferred allowance each year (5% of the investments in) to the withdrawals (including OAC) taken that year:

  • if the withdrawals are higher, this creates an excess chargeable gain which arises at the end of the policy year
  • if the tax deferred allowance is higher, then there is no gain and any unused allowance will carry forward to be used in future years
  • there is no time limit on how long it can be carried forward, as long as the bond is intact, the accumulated allowance can be ‘swept up’.

Going forward into the second and subsequent policy years, compare the tax deferred allowance (5% of the investment in + unused tax deferred allowance from previous years) to the withdrawals (including OAC) taken that year:

  • if the withdrawals are higher, then this creates an excess chargeable gain which arises at the end of the policy year.
  • if the tax deferred allowance is higher, then there is no gain and any unused allowance will carry forward to be used in future years.

"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.