Tax Deductibility of Life Insurance

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

Regarding life insurance, there is a lot of confusion about what is and is not a tax deduction. In this guide, we will clear up the confusion and answer the question: is life insurance a tax deduction? We will review what is allowed as a tax deduction for life insurance premiums and how you can claim them on your taxes.

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Is Life Insurance Premium Tax Deductible?

Even though the answer is usually no, life insurance still has some tax benefits. The payout from a policy usually isn’t taxed, which can significantly help your family during a tough time. In addition, depending on your situation, you may be able to work with a tax expert to take advantage of other tax breaks with your policy.

Are Life Insurance Premiums Tax Deductible

Tax Deductibility Exceptions Of Life Insurance Premiums

Usually, you can’t deduct your life insurance premiums from your taxes. The IRS considers this a personal expense. The government also does not require life insurance, so you can’t expect a tax break after buying a policy.

However, if you die while the policy is still active, your loved ones receive a tax-free cash payment to help them out. This payment can replace your income, pay bills or debts, save for the future, or buy whatever you choose.

You typically can’t deduct premiums for life insurance, but a few exceptions exist. For example, you may be able to deduct some or all of your life insurance premiums if you:

  • Small businesses with a specific business structure (LLC, S-Corp, sole proprietors) can deduct the premiums they pay employees, typically through group life insurance. The most you can deduct is $50,000 per year. You also cannot benefit from the policy in any way.
  • The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act permanently changed the tax code for people who get divorced starting in 2019. If you are getting divorced, the judge may ask you to buy life insurance as part of your alimony agreement. Starting in 2019, no alimony payments will be considered tax-deductible. This also applies to life insurance payments. However, if you bought a policy before getting divorced and your ex-spouse is the beneficiary, you won’t be able to deduct the premiums from your taxes.
  • You can usually get a tax break when you transfer the ownership of your life insurance policy. If you give your life insurance policy to a charity you like or name the charity as your beneficiary, you can get a tax deduction. The premium payments you have made, or the cash value of the policy, whichever is less, will be considered when figuring out how much tax you need to pay.
Is Life Insurance Tax Deductible

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is life insurance a tax deduction?

Usually, tax life insurance is not a tax deduction. However, small businesses with a specific business structure can deduct the premiums paid to employees through group life insurance. Another way to get a tax break when it comes to life insurance is to transfer the ownership of your life insurance policy. For example, if you give your life insurance policy to a charity you like or name the charity as your beneficiary, you can get a tax deduction.

Is term life insurance premiums tax deductible?

The premiums may be tax deductible if the policy is used for business purposes such as providing your employee’s group life insurance.

Is life insurance tax deductible on Schedule C?

Are you wondering if life insurance premiums are deductible on Schedule C when filing your taxes? Well, the answer is yes! The payments made for employees’ lives qualify as a tax-deductible life insurance expense and should be detailed on your Schedule C to claim a deduction. Ensure it’s included come tax time, so you don’t miss out on this beneficial deduction.

Which insurance is not deductible on Schedule C?

Self-employed individuals can use the health insurance deduction if they are sole proprietors. This personal deduction is not reported on Schedule C. Instead, it should be entered in the “Adjustments to Income” section in Schedule 1 of Form 1040.

Is life insurance an allowable expense for self-employed?

Regarding business expenses, travel, equipment, and electricity can be deducted from your taxes. This is because these are what you spend on operating a business successfully. However, life insurance is not essential for running a company; thus, it’s not eligible for an income tax deduction.

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

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

I’m a licensed financial professional focusing on annuities and insurance for more than a decade. My former role was training financial advisors, including for a Fortune Global 500 insurance company. I’ve been featured in Time Magazine, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, Entrepreneur, Bloomberg, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, and Women’s Health Magazine.

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

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