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Will You Pay Taxes on Life Insurance?

Will You Pay Taxes on Life Insurance?

axes for life insurance are not straightforward. One might not know what lies ahead; it may be a huge tax bill or a tax-free income. 

However, you will not pay federal income tax on any insurance payout that you get. This doesn't mean that it will not affect the federal taxes. This article will explore various situations – when the payout will or will not be taxed, and various factors to be aware of.


Life Insurance Payout: When It is not taxable 

Generally, you will not pay federal income taxes on benefits from life insurance. This is because payout from life insurance need not be included as part of your gross income, nor do you need to report to Uncle Sam.

As an example, you are a beneficiary of someone's policy, either your spouse or your parents. The person passes away, and you receive the payout. You need not pay federal income tax as you are the named beneficiary. 

As long as the policy covers you and you have a terminal illness that warrants receipt of accelerated death benefits, you will not pay tax on them as well.


Life Insurance Payout: When It is taxable 

However, there are cases when you need to pay taxes on all or some parts of the proceeds from your life insurance. Here are instances where tax payment is not negotiable:

  1. Interest will be taxed 

Tax payment on interest is compulsory when you receive life insurance with accrued interest. This happens many times when the policy is structured such that the insurer keeps the payout when the policyholder dies and releases it after some time. 

Also, there will be taxes if the payout is released in installments and there is interest from the carrier. 

  1. Partial Taxes on Cash Surrender 

Surrendering a policy for cash might warrant tax on all procedures that exceed the policy cost. Usually, this includes the entire premium amount paid for the policy, less the dividends, rebates, refunded premiums, unrepaid loans, etc., that are not part of the income reported to Uncle Sam. 

  1. Partial Tax on Policy Transfer

Payment of any compensation like cash for transferring a policy to you will warrant federal income tax on the part of the policy that rises above the amount paid for such transfer, alongside any premium paid and taxable amounts. 

For instance, paying $10,000 to possess a policy $78,000 death benefit without paying a premium or other qualifying amount will warrant a tax payment of $68,000.


Will You Pay Estate Tax on Life Insurance Payouts?

From the name, an estate tax applies to someone’s estate. From Uncle Sam’s definition, this is everything someone owns or has an interest in at the time of death. 

Going by the definition, proceeds from life insurance that you get do not qualify as an estate since the insured didn’t own the funds. The beneficiary owns it after the insured dies. 

However, if the insured person's estate receives the death benefit from the policy and not the beneficiary, such funds might be subjected to estate tax. 

Massive estate worth over $11.58 million or above might be subjected to federal estate tax. However, not many estates are this huge.


Life Insurance Premiums: When are they taxable?

Generally, you are not to pay taxes on insurance payouts as long as you are the beneficiary. However, one might have to pay federal income taxes on some group life insurance premiums.

Suppose you get a group life insurance of above $50,000 from your employer as a fringe benefit. In that case, premiums from such coverage might be included in your income minus any contribution made for the plan in the specific tax year. However, for life insurance death benefits below $50,000, one need not include such premium as income.



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