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06 / 02 / 2015 by Greg Freyman, CPA in Personal Tax

Are Life Insurance Proceeds Taxable?

Question:
My father passed away last year, leaving me some assets which includes his life insurance proceeds. Is this a taxable event to me?

Answer:
Life insurance proceeds due to death that are paid out to a beneficiary in lump sum are generally not included as income to the recipient. As such, the recipient would generally not be subject to taxes for receiving the distribution. This is referenced in Internal Revenue Code Section 101(a)(1) and IRS Publication 525. Any interest that accumulated on the amount distributed would however be included in taxable income. Thus, if the amount paid is in excess to the present value of the payments at the time of death, then the beneficiary would owe taxes on that difference.

Please note that you will receive a 1099-R form. You should have a copy of that as well as a copy of the insurance policy and any other relevant correspondences that show the value of the policy and any interest that accumulated.

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