26 CFR § 1.815-2 - Distributions to shareholders.
(a) In general. Section 815 provides that every stock life insurance company subject to the tax imposed by section 802 shall establish and maintain two special surplus accounts for Federal income tax purposes. These special accounts are the shareholders surplus account (as defined in section 815(b) and § 1.815-3) and the policyholders surplus account (as defined in section 815(c) and § 1.815-4). To the extent that a distribution to shareholders (as defined in paragraph (c) of this section) is treated as being made out of the shareholders surplus account, no tax is imposed on the company with respect to such distribution. However, to the extent that a distribution to shareholders is treated as being made out of the policyholders surplus account, the amount subtracted from the policyholders surplus account by reason of such distribution shall be taken into account in determining life insurance company taxable income under section 802(b).
(b) Priority system for distributions to shareholders.
(1) For purposes of section 815 (other than subsection (e) thereof relating to certain mutualizations) and section 802(b)(3) (relating to the determination of life insurance company taxable income), any distribution made to shareholders after December 31, 1958, shall be treated in the following manner:
(ii) Once the shareholders surplus account has been reduced to zero, distributions shall then be treated as being made out of the policyholders surplus account (as defined in section 815(c) and § 1.815-4) until that account has been reduced to zero; and
(iii) Finally, any distributions in excess of the amounts in the shareholders surplus account and the policyholders surplus account shall be treated as being made out of other accounts (as defined in § 1.815-5).
(2) For purposes of subparagraph (1) of this paragraph, in order to determine whether a distribution (or any portion thereof) shall be treated as being made out of the shareholders surplus account, policyholders surplus account, or other accounts, the amount in such accounts at the end of any taxable year shall be the cumulative balance in such accounts at the end of the taxable year, computed without diminution by reason of a distribution (or any portion thereof) during the taxable year which is treated as being made out of such accounts. For example, on January 1, 1960, S, a stock life insurance company, had $1,000 in its shareholders surplus account and $3,000 in its policyholders surplus account. On November 1, 1960, S distributed $4,000 to its shareholders. Under the provisions of section 815(b)(2) and paragraph (b) of § 1.815-3, S added $5,000 to its shareholders surplus account for the taxable year 1960. Since the distributions to shareholders during the taxable year 1960, $4,000, does not exceed the cumulative balance in the shareholders surplus account at the end of the taxable year, computed without diminution by reason of distributions treated as made out of such account during the taxable year, $6,000 ($1,000 plus $5,000), the entire distribution is treated as being made out of the shareholders surplus account.
(3) Except in the case of a distribution in cash and as otherwise provided herein, the amount to be charged to the special surplus accounts referred to in subparagraph (1) of this paragraph with respect to any distributions to shareholders (as defined in section 815(a) and paragraph (c) of this section) shall be the fair market value of the property distributed, determined as of the date of distribution. However, for the amount of the adjustment to earnings and profits reflecting such distributions, see section 312 and the regulations thereunder. For a special rule relating to the determination of the amount to be charged to such special surplus accounts in the case of a distribution by a foreign life insurance company carrying on a life insurance business within the United States, see section 819(c)(1) and the regulations thereunder.
(c) Distributions to shareholders defined.
(1) Except as otherwise provided in section 815(f) and subparagraph (2) of this paragraph, the term distribution, as used in section 815(a) and paragraph (b) of this section, means any distribution of property made by a life insurance company to its shareholders. For purposes of the preceding sentence, the term property means any property (including money, securities, and indebtedness to the company) other than stock, or rights to acquire stock, in the company making the distribution. Thus, for example, the term includes a distribution which is considered a dividend under section 316, but is not limited to the extent that such distribution must be made out of the accumulated or current earnings and profits of the company making the distribution. For example, except as otherwise provided in section 815(f) and subparagraph (2) of this paragraph, there is a distribution within the meaning of this paragraph in any case in which a corporation acquires the stock of a shareholder in exchange for property in a redemption treated as a distribution in exchange for stock under section 302(a) or treated as a distribution of property under section 302(d). For special rules relating to distributions to shareholders in acquisition of stock pursuant to a plan of mutualization, see section 815(e) and paragraph (e) of § 1.815-6.
(2) The term distribution, as used in section 815(a) and paragraph (b) of this section, does not (except for purposes of section 815(a)(3) and (e)(2)(B)) include any distribution in redemption of stock issued prior to January 1, 1958, where such stock was at all times on and after the date of its issuance and on and before the date of its redemption limited as to the amount of dividends payable and was callable, at the option of the issuer, at a price not in excess of 105 percent of the sum of its issue price plus the amount of contribution to surplus (if any) made by the original purchaser at the time of his purchase.