Is Life Insurance Taxable?

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

Do You Pay Taxes on Life Insurance?

Generally, life insurance payouts, also known as death benefits, are not taxable. When a life insurance policyholder passes away, the beneficiaries receive the death benefit without having to pay income tax on it.

Example: If you are a beneficiary and receive a $100,000 death benefit, you typically do not need to report it as income or pay taxes on it.

Are Life Insurance Proceeds Taxable To The Estate

Situations Where Life Insurance May Be Taxable

Interest Payments: If the life insurance benefit is paid over time and generates interest, the interest portion is taxable.

Example: If a beneficiary opts for installment payments and the death benefit accrues interest, the interest earned is taxable.

Estate Taxes: For large estates, life insurance can be included in the estate value, potentially subjecting it to estate taxes.

Example: If the policyholder’s estate, including life insurance, is worth more than the federal estate tax exemption limit, the estate may owe taxes.

Policy Surrender or Sale: If a life insurance policy is surrendered or sold for cash value, taxes may be owed on the amount that exceeds what was paid into the policy.

Example: If you surrender a policy and receive more than the sum of your premium payments, the excess is taxable.

Are Life Insurance Policies Taxable

Tax Implications of Life Insurance

SituationTaxable AmountNotes
Death Benefit PayoutNoneDirect beneficiary payments are not taxable
Interest on Installment PaymentsInterest Amount OnlyOnly the interest portion is subject to tax
Inclusion in a Large EstateVaries Depending on Estate SizeMay be subject to estate tax if over exemption
Policy Surrender or SaleExcess over Premiums PaidTaxable on the gain from the policy


Understanding the tax implications of life insurance is crucial. While the death benefit is usually not taxable, certain scenarios like interest payments, large estates, or surrendering a policy can create tax liabilities. Being aware of these situations helps in planning and managing potential taxes effectively. Contact us today for a free quote.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Are life insurance payouts taxed?

Generally, when you get life insurance money because someone died, the government doesn’t tax the money. But if you earn interest from the life insurance company, that is taxed, and you should report it as income.

Do you pay taxes on life insurance?

No, life insurance payouts are not subject to income tax. This means beneficiaries will receive 100% of the life insurance death benefit amount.

Can the IRS take money from life insurance?

No, the IRS cannot take money from life insurance. Life insurance proceeds are typically exempt from taxation.

Is life insurance over 50000 taxable?

No, life insurance over $50000 is not taxable. In addition, life insurance proceeds are typically exempt from taxation.

Can creditors go after life insurance?

No, creditors cannot go after life insurance. Life insurance proceeds are typically exempt from taxation.

Does a life insurance payout affect Social Security benefits?

No, a life insurance payout does not affect Social Security benefits.

How much money can you inherit without having to pay taxes on it?

No limit exists on how much money you can inherit from life insurance without paying taxes. Inherited money is typically not subject to taxation.

*Disclosure: Some of the links in this guide may be affiliate links. I may receive a commission at no cost if you purchase a policy. It helps us keep the lights on!

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

Shawn Plummer is a licensed financial professional, 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

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