1035 Exchange Rules

Shawn Plummer, CRPC

Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor

What is a 1035 Annuity exchange?

A 1035 exchange is a provision in the tax code that allows for a tax-free transfer of an existing annuity contract, life insurance policy, long-term care product, or endowment for another one of like kind. It is governed by Section 1035 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), which outlines exchanges between similar products like insurance policies, annuities, and endowments. This exchange allows individuals to transfer certain products, such as annuities, to a similar vehicle on a tax-free basis, as long as the transfer occurs between products of like kind. There are certain requirements and considerations to keep in mind when considering a 1035 exchange, including the need to compare the features of each policy or contract, consider the cost-benefit analysis, and review factors such as administrative fees, surrender charges, and investment fees.

Key Takeaways:

  • A 1035 exchange allows for a tax-free transfer of annuities and other similar products.
  • Not all 1035 exchanges are permitted.
  • Comparing the features and costs of each policy or contract is essential.
  • Considerations include administrative fees, surrender charges, and investment fees.
  • Reviewing the tax implications of a 1035 exchange is vital.
1035 Exchange Annuity

Who Should Consider a 1035 Annuity Exchange?

To qualify for an exchange, the contract or policy owner must meet certain requirements and criteria. Generally, 1035 exchanges between products within the same company are not reportable for tax purposes as long as the exchange criteria are satisfied.

Notable features of a 1035 exchange include:

  • Tax-free transfer of annuity contracts, life insurance policies, long-term care products, or endowments
  • Upgrading from outdated or underperforming products
  • Better investment options
  • Less restrictive provisions

Overall, a 1035 exchange provides individuals with the opportunity to optimize their financial strategy by upgrading their insurance products without incurring immediate tax consequences.

Annuity 1035 Exchange

How does a 1035 Exchange work?

A 1035 exchange allows individuals to transfer certain products like life insurance, annuities, and endowments to a similar vehicle on a tax-free basis. The transfer must occur between products of like kind, such as life insurance for life insurance or a non-qualified annuity for a non-qualified annuity. It is important to note that the money must be transferred directly, and the annuitant or policyholder must remain the same. Although the transfer is not taxable, it is reportable, and the exchange must be mentioned on the individual’s annual tax return using Form 1099-R.

1035 Exchange Process:

1Identify the like-kind products
2Choose a new product
3Contact the issuer of the existing product
4Initiate the exchange process
5Provide necessary documents
6Transfer funds directly
7Update the policyholder information
8Report the exchange on Form 1099-R
Annuity Exchange

The Different Types of 1035 Exchanges

  • Annuity to Annuity: The most straightforward type is exchanging one annuity contract for another.
  • Life Insurance to Annuity: Under the 1035 exchange life insurance to annuity rules, you can exchange a life insurance policy for an annuity contract. This might suit someone who no longer needs life coverage but wants to focus on income generation.
  • Annuity to Life Insurance: While less common, the annuity to life insurance 1035 exchange is possible through an annuity life insurance product. This might be considered if your need for life coverage has increased.

1035 Exchange At A Glance

1035 Exchange To:Variable
Fixed Index
LTC AnnuityLife Insurance
Variable AnnuityYesYesYesYesYesNo
Fixed Index AnnuityYesYesYesYesYesNo
Fixed AnnuityYesYesYesYesYesNo
Immediate AnnuityNoNoNoNoNoNo
Deferred Income AnnuityYesYesYesYesYesNo
Medicaid AnnuityNoNoNoNoNoNo
LTC AnnuityYesYesYesYesYesNo
After AnnuitizationNoNoNoNoNoNo
Permanent Life InsuranceYesYesYesYesYesYes
Term Life InsuranceNoNoNoNoNoNo

Benefits of a 1035 Exchange

The primary benefit of a 1035 exchange is the ability to trade one product for another with no tax consequences. This provision allows individuals to exchange outdated or underperforming annuities for newer ones that offer better investment options and less restrictive provisions. It provides an opportunity to upgrade your long-term financial strategy without incurring immediate tax consequences.

Tax ConsequencesA 1035 exchange allows for a tax-free transfer, ensuring you can upgrade your annuity without incurring additional taxes.
Outdated ProductsExchange your outdated annuity for a newer one that aligns with current market trends and offers improved benefits.
Underperforming ProductsIf your current annuity is underperforming, a 1035 exchange gives you the opportunity to switch to a better-performing product.
Better Investment OptionsBy exchanging your annuity, you can gain access to a wider range of investment options that may offer higher returns.
Less Restrictive ProvisionsNewer annuities often come with updated provisions that provide more flexibility and better meet your financial goals.

When is a 1035 Exchange appropriate?

A 1035 exchange is a valuable option for policyholders when it aligns with their best interests. The decision to replace an insurance policy should be based on either an economic or personal basis. To ensure a well-informed choice, policyholders must carefully consider various factors, including:

  • Changes in health: Policyholders should evaluate if their current policy adequately covers their health changes and if a new policy better addresses their evolving needs.
  • Implications of contestable provisions: Examining the implications of contestable provisions in the existing policy and comparing them with those of the potential replacement policy is crucial.
  • Potential increase in premium rate: Policyholders should consider if the new policy offers premium rates that make financial sense in the long run.
  • Policy provisions and guarantees: It is important to understand the policy provisions and guarantees of both the existing and replacement policies to make an informed decision.
  • Surrender charges: Evaluating the surrender charges associated with the existing policy and whether they outweigh the benefits of the new policy is essential.
  • Alternative options to replacement: Considering alternative options, such as additional riders or amendments to the existing policy, can provide policyholders with more flexible choices.

By carefully evaluating these factors, policyholders can determine whether a 1035 exchange is the appropriate course of action for their individual circumstances and goals.

Factors to ConsiderExisting PolicyNew Policy
Health ChangesOffers limited coverage for changing health conditions.Provides comprehensive coverage for current and future health needs.
Contestable ProvisionsMay have restrictive contestable provisions.Offers more favorable contestable provisions to the policyholder.
Premium RateCurrent premium rate may no longer be competitive.Provides a more affordable premium rate based on the policyholder’s circumstances.
Policy Provisions and GuaranteesMay lack desired policy provisions and guarantees.Includes policy provisions and guarantees that better align with the policyholder’s needs and objectives.
Surrender ChargesMay have high surrender charges that limit flexibility.Offers lower surrender charges, allowing for greater flexibility.
Alternative OptionsLimited options for modifying or enhancing the existing policy.Provides alternative options, such as additional riders or amendments.
When Replacing Or Exchanging An Annuity,

When is surrendering a policy better than doing a 1035 Exchange?

While a 1035 exchange annuity offers tax advantages and flexibility, there are circumstances where surrendering a policy may be more advantageous. Consider the following scenarios:

No Gain on Existing Contract

If your existing annuity contract has not gained any value, a 1035 exchange may not provide any significant tax benefits. In such cases, surrendering the policy can be a simpler option.

Outstanding Loans Represent Partial Gain

If you have outstanding loans on your annuity contract, the loan balance may be considered a partial gain. In this situation, a 1035 exchange may not offer any tax advantage. Surrendering the policy allows you to access the surrender proceeds without tax consequences.

Variable or Universal Contract with Market Rate Adjustment

If your existing annuity contract is a variable or universal contract with a market rate adjustment provision, surrendering the policy may yield higher proceeds compared to a 1035 exchange, depending on market conditions and timing. By surrendering, you can potentially capitalize on better market rates.

It is important to carefully evaluate your specific circumstances and consult with a financial professional before deciding between a 1035 exchange and surrendering a policy. By considering factors such as tax advantages, potential gains or losses, and market conditions, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your financial goals.

Can multiple contracts be used for a 1035 Exchange?

When considering a 1035 exchange for your annuity, it is important to understand whether you can use multiple contracts in the exchange process. While multiple contracts can be exchanged for one contract, the reverse is not allowed – one contract cannot be exchanged for multiple contracts. This is an important consideration when deciding on the structure of your exchange.

When using multiple contracts in a 1035 exchange, it is crucial to carefully review the tax implications and potential benefits. Understanding the tax benefits associated with a 1035 exchange can help you make an informed decision that aligns with your financial goals and objectives.

To illustrate the exchange process using multiple contracts, let’s consider an example:

Existing Annuity ContractsNew Annuity Contract
Contract A: $100,000Consolidated Contract: $200,000
Contract B: $100,000
Total: $200,000Total: $200,000

In this example, two existing annuity contracts, Contract A and Contract B, with a total value of $200,000, are consolidated into one new annuity contract with a value of $200,000. This simplifies the management of your annuities and may offer potential tax advantages.

When considering a 1035 exchange using multiple contracts, it is crucial to consult with a qualified financial advisor or tax professional who can provide personalized guidance based on your specific circumstances. They can help evaluate the tax benefits, analyze the structure of your exchange, and ensure compliance with IRS regulations.

Can a policy owner withdraw value from the new life insurance contract after the exchange without a tax consequence?

If the new policy is a life insurance policy and not a modified endowment contract (MEC), a loan can be taken from it without tax consequences. However, there is a risk of the exchange and subsequent loan being considered a step transaction. It is important to wait a reasonable amount of time after the issue of the new contract before taking a loan from it. Additionally, if the new policy is a life insurance policy and the policy owner intends to make a partial surrender within the first 15 years, there could be a tax on the withdrawal even if the new policy is not a MEC and there is basis in excess of the distribution. Contracts issued after January 1, 1985 are subject to the forced out gain rule.

Key Considerations For 1035 Exchange

  • Inherited Annuities: If you’ve inherited an annuity, you might wonder about the 1035 exchange inherited annuity rules. While you can’t exchange an inherited annuity for another annuity, there are other strategies to consider to optimize its benefits.
  • Nonqualified Annuities: The nonqualified annuity 1035 exchange refers to exchanges involving annuities purchased with after-tax dollars. These exchanges are allowed and can offer significant flexibility.
  • 1031 Exchange: While we’re focusing on the 1035 exchange, it’s worth noting the 1031 exchange, which pertains to real estate. Please don’t confuse the two; they serve different purposes.

Common Misconceptions Of A 1035 Exchange

  • Any Exchange is Allowed: Not all exchanges are permitted. For instance, while you can perform a 1035 exchange from life insurance to an annuity, the reverse isn’t always true. Always consult with a professional before making a decision.
  • It’s a Free-for-All: Just because it’s a tax-free transaction doesn’t mean it’s free of cost. There might be surrender charges or other fees associated with your existing contract.
  • One-Time Opportunity: You’re not limited to a single 1035 exchange. As your needs evolve, you can continue to leverage this provision to adjust your financial strategy.
1035 Exchange Rules For Annuities


In conclusion, a 1035 exchange offers significant benefits to policyholders who are considering upgrading their annuities or other insurance products. One of the main advantages is the ability to make a tax-free transfer, allowing individuals to defer gain and avoid modified endowment status. This can be particularly advantageous for policyholders who want to preserve their basis and enhance their long-term financial strategy.

However, before making a decision, policyholders should carefully consider the various factors and considerations associated with a 1035 exchange. It is crucial to evaluate the tax consequences, compare the features and benefits of different products, and ensure alignment with one’s individual circumstances and objectives. By thoroughly evaluating these aspects, policyholders can make an informed decision that maximizes the potential benefits and minimizes any potential risks.

Ultimately, the decision-making process regarding a 1035 exchange should be guided by the policyholder’s specific needs, goals, and long-term financial plan. Seeking professional guidance from a financial advisor or tax expert can also be invaluable in navigating the complexities and making an informed choice. With careful consideration and expert advice, policyholders can leverage the advantages of a 1035 exchange to enhance their financial future.

Contact us for a free quote

Need To Use a 1035 Exchange?

Get help or a quote from a licensed financial professional. This service is free of charge.

Contact Us

Questions From Our Readers

What is the difference between a rollover and a 1035 exchange?

A rollover is when you move the assets from one qualified retirement account to another. A 1035 Exchange is when you exchange a nonqualified annuity contract for another.

Can I do a partial 1035 exchange?

Yes, you can do a partial exchange of an annuity contract. However, consulting with a tax advisor is essential to ensure the exchange has no adverse tax consequences.

What is the cost basis on a 1035 exchange?

The cost basis of an annuity is the amount of money that has been paid into the contract. So when you do a 1035 Exchange, the cost basis of the new annuity will be the same as that of the old annuity.

How many times can I do a 1035 exchange?

There is no limit to how many times you can do a 1035 Exchange. However, consulting with a tax advisor is essential to ensure the exchange has no adverse tax consequences.

Do I have to report a 1035 exchange?

Yes, you will need to report the exchange on your tax return. However, there should be no tax consequences if the exchange is done correctly.

Is there a fee if I wanted to do a 1035 exchange?

Although there are no specific 1035 exchange fees, you may be charged for leaving your current annuity in the form of surrender fees. In some cases, if exchanging from one product to another within the same company, it’s possible that these fees would be waived.

Can I do a 1035 exchange with an inherited annuity?

Yes, you can do a 1035 exchange with an inherited annuity. However, specific rules and restrictions may apply to inherited annuities, so it is essential to consult with a tax professional or financial advisor to determine if a 1035 exchange is appropriate in your specific situation.

What is the difference between the 1031 exchange and the 1035 exchange?

A 1031 exchange is a tax-deferred swap of one investment property for another, typically real estate. In contrast, a 1035 transfer allows the tax-free transfer of funds from one life insurance or annuity policy to another, providing policyholders with potential benefits and flexibility in their insurance and investment choices.

What is a 1035 exchange annuity?

A 1035 exchange is a tax-free replacement of an existing annuity or life insurance policy with a new one, maintaining the tax benefits without incurring penalties or taxes for the exchange.

Can I 1035 annuity to life insurance?

You can execute a 1035 exchange from an annuity to a life insurance policy. This tax-free process allows the investment to continue growing without immediate tax implications. However, specific requirements must be met.

What is not allowable in a 1035 exchange?

A “1035 exchange” refers to the transferring of funds from one life insurance policy or annuity to another, providing certain tax benefits. To determine which exchanges are not allowed, one must review the IRS guidelines, as they specify the criteria for eligible exchanges. However, it is important to consult with a financial advisor or tax professional for accurate and up-to-date information on this topic.

Can I 1035 life insurance to an annuity?

Yes, it is possible to convert a 1035 life insurance policy into an annuity. By utilizing a 1035 exchange, policyholders can transfer the cash value from life insurance into an annuity, providing them with a regular stream of income. This option allows individuals to adapt their financial plans to better suit their needs.

What is the difference between a 1035 exchange and a transfer?

A 1035 exchange and transfer both involve moving funds from one insurance policy to another without incurring tax penalties. However, the key difference lies in the destination of the funds. A 1035 exchange allows for the transfer to be made between different insurance policies, while a transfer refers to moving the funds to a new policy within the same insurance company.

What is a 1035 tax form?

A 1035 tax form refers to a provision in the U.S. tax code that allows individuals to transfer funds from one life insurance policy to another or from a life insurance policy to an annuity without incurring immediate tax liabilities. This provision provides individuals with flexibility in managing their insurance and investment portfolios.

Is there a 1035 exchange time limit?

There is no specific time limit for completing a 1035 exchange, unlike other tax-advantaged exchanges like the 1031 exchange in real estate, which has specific time constraints.

When is surrendering my policy better than doing a 1035 exchange?

Surrendering a policy may be more beneficial than doing a 1035 exchange if there is no gain on the existing contract or if there are outstanding loans that represent a partial gain. Additionally, if the existing policy is a variable or universal contract with a market rate adjustment provision, surrendering the policy may result in higher proceeds than an exchange.

Can multiple contracts be used for a 1035 exchange?

Multiple contracts can be exchanged for one contract, but one contract cannot be exchanged for multiple contracts. It is important to consider the tax implications and benefits of a 1035 exchange when deciding to use multiple contracts in the exchange process.

Can I do a 1035 exchange with my fixed annuity, and can I change the annuitant?

Generally, a 1035 exchange requires maintaining consistency in the owner, annuitant, and beneficiary between the old and new annuities. Any alterations to these details usually need to be made before or after the exchange, as the exchange typically requires “like-to-like” conditions.

For a partial 1035 exchange from a long-running nonqualified annuity with 100K principal and 45K interest, if I partially exchange 40K, is part of that sum seen as coming from the basis and part from the interest, or is it all interest?

In a partial 1035 exchange from a nonqualified annuity with a principal of $100K and $45K in interest, if you partially exchange $40K, it is typically treated under the “last-in, first-out” (LIFO) tax rule. This means the IRS considers the most recently earned income (in this case, the interest) to be withdrawn first. Therefore, the $40K exchanged in this scenario would be considered as coming entirely from the accumulated interest. This approach impacts the tax liability, as the interest portion of an annuity is subject to taxation.

I 1035 exchanged an annuity and am still waiting on my first payment. It has taken over two months, and I have repeated phone calls to the agent with still no funds. I’m relying on this income to get by. Is there anything I can do?

In your situation, it’s advisable to take the matter into your own hands. Start by contacting the previous annuity company to check if there’s any snag with the transfer of your annuity. After that, reach out to the new annuity company to inquire about any missing requirements or documentation that might be delaying the initiation of your annuity payments. Direct communication with both companies could help clarify the status of the transfer and expedite the process of receiving your payments.

Are 1035 exchanges taxable?

Generally, 1035 exchanges are not taxable. This IRS provision allows for the exchange of certain types of insurance policies without triggering a taxable event. It’s commonly used for swapping life insurance policies, annuities, and endowment policies, provided the exchange meets the IRS criteria for a tax-free transaction. However, there are specific rules and conditions that must be met to ensure the exchange remains non-taxable.

Why would I want to 1035 exchange my policy?

A 1035 exchange is often chosen when the existing policy is underperforming or when there are better benefits available in a new policy. Additionally, a person might opt for a 1035 exchange to move to a policy with less risk, thereby aligning more closely with their current financial goals and risk tolerance.

Shawn Plummer, CRPC

Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor

Shawn Plummer is a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor, insurance agent, and annuity broker with over 14 years of first-hand experience with annuities and insurance. Since beginning his journey in 2009, he has been pivotal in selling and educating about annuities and insurance products. Still, he has also played an instrumental role in training financial advisors for a prestigious Fortune Global 500 insurance company, Allianz. His insights and expertise have made him a sought-after voice in the industry, leading to features in renowned publications such as Time Magazine, Bloomberg, Entrepreneur, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, Women’s Health Magazine, and many more. Shawn’s driving ambition? To simplify retirement planning, he ensures his clients understand their choices and secure the best insurance coverage at unbeatable rates.

The Annuity Expert is an independent online insurance agency servicing consumers across the United States. The goal is to help you take the guesswork out of retirement planning and find the best insurance coverage at the cheapest rates

Scroll to Top