26 CFR § 1.822-12 - Dividends to policyholders.
(a) Dividends to policyholders are used in determining the “underwriting loss” for purposes of the special transitional underwriting loss deduction provided by section 821(f), and the limitation on capital losses under section 822(c)(6); in computing statutory underwriting income or loss under section 823, and the subtractions from the protection against loss account under section 824(d). The term “dividends to policyholders” is defined in section 822(f)(2) as dividends and similar distributions paid or declared to policyholders. It includes amounts returned to policyholders where the amount is not fixed in the insurance contract but depends upon the experience of the company or the discretion of the management. Such amounts are not to be treated as return premiums under section 822(f)(1). Savings credited to the individual accounts of the subscribers of a reciprocal underwriter or interinsurer under section 823(b)(2) are not dividends paid or declared within the meaning of this paragraph. However, distributions in respect of such credits shall be considered as dividends paid. See section 823(b)(2). The term “paid or declared” is to be construed according to the method of accounting regularly employed in keeping the books of the insurance company, and such method shall be consistently followed with respect to all deductions (including dividends and similar distributions to policyholders) and all items of income.
(b) If the method of accounting so employed is the cash receipts and disbursements method, the deduction is limited to the dividends and similar distributions actually paid to policyholders in the taxable year. If, on the other hand, the method of accounting so employed is the accrual method, the deduction, or a reasonably accurate estimate thereof, for dividends and similar distributions declared to policyholders for any taxable year will, in general, be computed by adding the amount of dividends and similar distributions declared but unpaid at the end of the taxable year to dividends and similar distributions paid during the taxable year and deducting dividends and similar distributions declared but unpaid at the beginning of the taxable year. If an insurance company using the accrual method does not compute the deduction for dividends and similar distributions declared to policyholders in the manner stated, it must submit with its return a full and complete explanation of the manner in which the deduction is computed. For the rule as to when dividends are considered paid, see the regulations under section 561.