Are you or your surviving loved ones required to pay taxes on life insurance proceeds?
There are a few things to be aware of about taxes and money inherited from a loved one’s passing. The inheritance itself is not subject to income tax, to start.
The death benefit provided to your heirs, however, can be taxed as part of your estate if it exceeds state and federal exemptions. Additionally, you might have to pay income and capital gains taxes if you decide to surrender your insurance to the insurer or settle the claim.
Are there any estate or inheritance taxes?
After you pass away, estate taxes may be a significant financial hardship for your loved ones. It’s critical to comprehend the tax implications of life insurance policy payouts in order to ensure that they don’t end up paying more than necessary.
For tax reasons, the value of life insurance plans is determined using IRS Form 712. Your payout is not taxable and will be transferred to your spouse tax-free if they are the policy’s beneficiary. If your beneficiaries are anyone else, nevertheless, they will be subject to taxation on the distribution in accordance with the amount specified on Form 712.
Normally, a spouse is exempt from estate taxes, but other family members, such as your parents or children, may discover that the value of your estate is increased by the life insurance benefits.
As long as the overall estate value is below state and federal exemptions, this normally won’t be a problem. However, estate and inheritance taxes are applied to the portion of your assets that exceeds the exemptions permitted at the time of your death.
Governmental Estate Taxes
You may be liable for a tax obligation of up to 40% if the value of your estate exceeds $11.8 million per individual and is subject to federal estate taxes. The taxable value of your estate determines the real tax obligation.
State estate and inheritance taxes
There are now 17 states with estate taxes and the District of Columbia with inheritance taxes. According to each state’s exemption, which normally runs from $1 million to $7 million, the taxes in each state differ.
Using an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust Can Help You Avoid Estate Taxes
Making an irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT) is a wonderful choice if you want to prevent your life insurance payout from being taxed as part of your estate. When you create an ILIT, you cannot serve as the trustee since you give the trust ownership of the insurance policy.
You can avoid paying estate taxes on your life insurance benefits by using an irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT). You relinquish control over the insurance by transferring ownership to the ILIT, but you retain the right to select the trust beneficiary. If you wish to keep the proceeds from your life insurance policy out of your inheritance, this arrangement can be advantageous.
There are some circumstances when you can still experience a taxable event even though an irrevocable life insurance trust is an efficient way to ensure that the death benefit of your policy does not become a taxable component of your estate:
If the cash value of your life insurance policy is greater than the gift tax exemption, you can be required to pay a gift tax. The exemption is $16,000 for 2022.
The policy will probably be incorporated into your estate for tax purposes if you pass away within three years of giving the trust the ownership of the policy. This regulation was put in place to stop “deathbed” presents intended to lower your tax obligation.
Transfer for Value Regulation
If you choose to sell your policy to a third party, the Transfer for Value Rule will apply. This move, known as a life insurance settlement, is often taken by a policyholder who is no longer able to pay the insurance premiums or who has determined that the coverage is no longer necessary.
A third party pays a lump sum to the policy owner in order to take over as the policy’s beneficiary, become the transaction’s other party, and assume ownership of the policy as well as any outstanding premium payments.
Your life insurance policy’s death benefit is taxable to the other party in the transaction when you pass away. They are not required to pay income taxes on the entire sum, though. This includes any money given to you as part of owning or acquiring the policy, as well as any premiums paid since then. Instead, only a portion of it gets taxed.
Additionally, you might be required to pay income taxes as the policy’s seller. A portion of the life insurance payout (transaction with a third party) will probably be subject to taxes, and the remaining portion may be subject to capital gains tax.
What if I Donate My Policy Rather Than Sell It?
A great financial safety net can be provided by life insurance. But what happens if you decide to cancel your insurance policy? Depending on the cash value of the policy, surrendering it or being unable to get a life insurance payment may result in tax consequences. What you should know regarding taxes and surrendered life insurance plans is provided below.
In general, as long as the cash surrender value of a life insurance policy is less than the premiums paid, you won’t have to pay taxes on it. Any additional cash value, however, over and above your premiums, is regarded as taxable income.
Because term life insurance plans don’t have cash values, they won’t be taxed when they are surrendered. You wouldn’t, however, get any cash back from the insurer either.