Tax Indemnity Insurance

4 minute read

What is Tax Indemnity Insurance?

Tax Indemnity Insurance, also known as Tax Liability Insurance, is a type of insurance that provides protection against unexpected tax liabilities arising from an audit or investigation by tax authorities. It is a contractual agreement between an insured party and an insurer, where the insurer agrees to pay for the insured party's legal and financial costs associated with a tax liability claim.

This type of insurance is purchased by buyers and sellers in Merger & Acquisition (M&A) transactions, as well as by other parties engaging in complex commercial transactions. Tax Indemnity Insurance helps to mitigate the risk associated with tax liabilities

Who Needs Tax Indemnity Insurance?

Tax Indemnity Insurance is typically required in M&A and other commercial transactions where tax risks are involved. This type of insurance is particularly useful in transactions where a large amount of money is being invested or acquired, and where the tax risks are difficult to evaluate or quantify.

The insurance provides protection for both buyers and sellers against potential losses arising from unexpected tax liabilities or disputes. Tax Indemnity Insurance is especially valuable in cases where there are uncertainties in the interpretation of tax laws or when there are differences of opinion between the taxpayer and the taxing authority. It can also be useful for companies that are involved in cross-border transactions, where the tax rules are complex and prone to change.

Tax risks in M&A and other commercial transactions

Commercial transactions can be complex and involve various risks. Tax risks are among the most significant risks associated with mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and other commercial transactions.

Tax risks in M&A and other commercial transactions can arise from various sources, such as uncertainties in tax laws, the inconsistent tax treatment of the transaction, incorrect tax reporting, and exposure to tax liabilities. Tax indemnity insurance can help mitigate some of these risks by providing coverage for losses resulting from unexpected tax liabilities, claims, and audits.

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Tax Liability Insurance for Sellers

Tax liability insurance for sellers is a type of insurance policy that transfers the risk of tax liabilities arising from a transaction to an insurer. By purchasing tax liability insurance, sellers can protect themselves from the risk of tax-related losses and uncertainty, enabling them to confidently proceed with the sale of their business or assets.

The insurance policy can cover a variety of tax issues, including income taxes, sales taxes, transfer taxes, and withholding taxes. Policyholders can choose the amount of coverage they want, the specific risks they want to insure against, and the retention amount they are willing to assume.

Tax Liability Insurance for Buyers

When a company is considering an acquisition, there are many factors to take into account, including tax liabilities from the deal. Buyers may seek to protect themselves against any unknown tax liabilities by purchasing tax liability insurance. This type of insurance is designed to protect the buyer from any unexpected tax liabilities that may arise after the acquisition is completed.

It's worth noting that not all tax liabilities will covered by tax liability insurance. Buyers will need to carefully review the terms and conditions of any policy they are considering to ensure that it provides adequate coverage for the specific risks they are most concerned about. Additionally, buyers will need to work closely with their tax advisors in order to identify and mitigate any potential tax risks that may be associated with the acquisition.

What Does Tax Liability Insurance Cover?

Tax liability insurance covers a range of losses related to tax issues, including unexpected tax assessments, interest, and penalties. It can also cover the costs of professional services required to defend against a tax claim or audit. The coverage can be tailored to address specific tax risks in a transaction, such as the risk of a tax claim arising from the structure of a transaction or the treatment of a particular item on a tax return.

The pricing of tax liability insurance varies depending on a number of factors, including the type and amount of coverage, the size and complexity of the transaction, and the perceived risk of a tax claim. The policy may require retention, which is a portion of the loss that the insured is responsible for paying before coverage kicks in. The retention is often structured as a deductible.

Relevant tax opinion terms not found in TOL policies can include things like indemnification language, non-disclosure agreements, and other provisions aimed at reducing the risk of a tax claim. The policy term will typically be for a specified period of time, such as three or five years, and will end once the coverage period is over.

The covered loss is the number of damages that the policy will pay out in the event of a covered claim. The coverage trigger is the event that must occur before the policy will provide coverage, such as the receipt of a tax notice or claim.

Examples of Insurable Tax Issues

There are various examples of insurable tax issues that can be covered by tax liability insurance. One example is the misinterpretation of tax laws or regulations that could result in additional taxes, penalties, or interest. Another example is the incorrect classification of certain transactions for tax purposes, which could result in underpayment of taxes or noncompliance with tax laws.


In conclusion, tax liability insurance is an effective tool that can help manage the tax risks associated with mergers, acquisitions, and other commercial transactions. The policy can be tailored to meet the specific needs of buyers and sellers and can cover a wide range of potential tax liabilities. By providing a financial safety net, tax liability insurance can help remove uncertainties from the equation and protect both parties from unexpected tax liabilities.

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