26 CFR 1.72-16 - Life insurance contracts purchased under qualified employee plans.
(a) Applicability of section. This section provides rules for the tax treatment of premiums paid under qualified pension, annuity, or profit-sharing plans for the purchase of life insurance contracts and rules for the tax treatment of the proceeds of such a life insurance contract and of annuity contracts purchased under such plans. For purposes of this section, the term “life insurance contract” means a retirement income, an endowment, or other contract providing life insurance protection. The rules of this section apply to plans covering only common-law employees as well as to plans covering self-employed individuals.
(b) Treatment of cost of life insurance protection.
(1) The rules of this paragraph are applicable to any life insurance contract -
(i) Purchased as a part of a plan described in section 403(a), or
(ii) Purchased by a trust described in section 401(a) which is exempt from tax under section 501(a) if the proceeds of such contract are payable directly or indirectly to a participant in such trust or to a beneficiary of such participant.
(2) If under a plan or trust described in subparagraph (1) of this paragraph, amounts which were allowed as a deduction under section 404, or earnings of the trust, are applied toward the purchase of a life insurance contract described in subparagraph (1) of this paragraph, the cost of the life insurance protection under such contract shall be included in the gross income of the participant for the taxable year or years in which such contributions or earnings are so applied.
(3) If the amount payable upon death at any time during the year exceeds the cash value of the insurance policy at the end of the year, the entire amount of such excess is considered current life insurance protection. The cost of such insurance will be considered to be a reasonable net premium cost, as determined by the Commissioner, for such amount of insurance for the appropriate period.
(4) The amount includible in the gross income of the employee under this paragraph shall be considered as premiums or other consideration paid or contributed by the employee only with respect to any benefits attributable to the contract (within the meaning of paragraph (a)(3) of § 1.72-2) providing the life insurance protection. However, if under the rules of this paragraph an owner-employee is required to include any amounts in his gross income, such amounts shall not in any case be treated as part of his investment in the contract.
(5) The determination of the cost of life insurance protection may be illustrated by the following example:
(6) This paragraph shall not apply if the trust has a right under any circumstances to retain any part of the proceeds of the life insurance contract. But see paragraph (c)(4) of this section relating to the taxability of the distribution of such proceeds to a beneficiary.
(c) Treatment of proceeds of life insurance and annuity contracts.
(1) If under a qualified pension, annuity, or profit-sharing plan, there is purchased either -
(i) A life insurance contract described in paragraph (b)(1) of this section, and the employee either paid the cost of the insurance or was taxable on the cost of the insurance under paragraph (b) of this section, or
(ii) An annuity contract,
(i) In the case of an annuity contract, the death benefit is the accumulation of the premiums (plus earnings thereon) which is intended to fund pension or other deferred benefits under a pension, annuity, or profit-sharing plan. Such death benefits are not in the nature of life insurance and are not excludable from gross income under section 101(a).
(ii) In the case of a life insurance contract under which there is a reserve accumulation which is intended to fund pension or other deferred benefits under a pension, annuity, or profit-sharing plan, such reserve accumulation constitutes the source of the cash value of the contract and approximates the amount of such cash value. The portion of the proceeds paid upon the death of the insured employee which is equal to the cash value immediately before death is not excludable from gross income under section 101(a). The remaining portion, if any, of the proceeds paid to the beneficiary by reason of the death of the insured employee - that is, the amount in excess of the cash value - constitutes current insurance protection and is excludable under section 101(a).
(iii) The death benefit under an annuity contract, or the portion of the death proceeds under a life insurance contract which is equal to the cash value of the contract immediately before death, constitutes a distribution under the plan consisting in whole or in part of deferred compensation and is taxable to the beneficiary in accordance with section 72(m)(3) and the provisions of this paragraph, except to the extent that the limited exclusion from income provided in section 101(b) is applicable.
(iv) In the case of a life insurance contract under which the benefits are paid at a date or dates later than the death of the employee, section 101(d) is applicable only to the portion of the benefits which is attributable to the amount excludable under section 101(a). The portion of such benefits which is attributable to the cash value of the contract immediately before death is taxable under section 72, and in such case, any amount excludable under section 101(b) is treated as additional consideration paid by the employee in accordance with section 101(b)(2)(D).
(3) The application of the rules under subparagraph (2) of this paragraph with respect to the taxability of proceeds of a life insurance contract paid by reason of the death of an insured common-law employee who has paid no contributions under the plan is illustrated by the following examples:
|Total face amount of the contract payable in a lump sum at time of death||$25,000|
|Cash value of the contract immediately before death||11,000|
|Excess over cash value, excludable under section 101(a)||14,000|
|Cash value subject to limited exclusion under section 101(b)||11,000|
|Excludable under section 101(b) (assuming that there is no other death benefit paid by or on behalf of any employer with respect to the employee)||5,000|
|Balance taxable in accordance with section 402(a)(2) or 403(a)(2) (assuming a total distribution in one taxable year of the distributee)||6,000|
|Portion of premiums taxed to employee under the provisions of paragraph (b) of this section and considered as contributions of the employee||940|
|Balance taxable as long-term capital gain||5,060|
|Amount actually contributed by the employee||0|
|Amount considered contributed by employee by reason of section 101(b)||$5,000|
|Portion of premiums taxed to employee under the provisions of paragraph (b) of this section and considered as contributions of the employee||$940|
|Investment in the contract||$5,940|
|Expected return, 10 × $1,320||$13,200|
|Exclusion ratio, $5,940 ÷ $13,200||0.45|
|Annual exclusion, 0.45 × $1,320||$594|
(4) If an employee neither paid the total cost of the life insurance protection provided under a life insurance contract, nor was taxable under paragraph (b) of this section with respect thereto, no part of the proceeds of such a contract which are paid to the beneficiaries of the employee as a death benefit is excludable under section 101(a). The entire distribution is taxable to the beneficiaries under section 402(a) or 403(a) except to the extent that a limited exclusion may be allowable under section 101(b).