Coporate Profiles

Tax and Life Insurance:

Premiums paid by the policy owner are normally not deductible for federal and state income tax purposes. Proceeds paid by the insurer upon death of the insured are not includible in taxable income for federal and state income tax purposes; however, if the proceeds are included in the "estate" of the deceased, it is likely they will be subject to federal and state estate and inheritance tax.

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Cash value increases within the policy are not subject to income taxes unless certain events occur. For this reason, insurance policies can be a legal and legitimate tax shelter wherein savings can increase without taxation until the owner withdraws the money from the policy. On flexible-premium policies, large deposits of premium could cause the contract to be considered a "Modified Endowment Contract" by the IRS, which negates many of the tax advantages associated with life insurance. The insurance company, in most cases, will inform the policy owner of this danger before applying their premium.

Death n Taxes
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Tax deferred benefit from a life insurance policy may be offset by its low return or high cost in some cases. This depends upon the insuring company, type of policy and other variables (mortality, market return, etc.). Also, other income tax saving vehicles (i.e. IRA, 401K or Roth IRA) appear to be better alternatives for value accumulation, at least for more sophisticated investors who can keep track of multiple financial vehicles. The combination of low-cost term life insurance and higher return tax-efficient retirement accounts can achieve better performance, assuming that the insurance itself is only needed for a limited amount of time.

The tax ramifications of life insurance are complex. The policy owner would be well advised to carefully consider them. As always, Congress or the state legislatures can change the tax laws at any time.

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