Wealth & Risk Management Blog

William Byrnes (Texas A&M) tax & compliance articles

Life Insurance in Qualified Pension Plans

Posted by William Byrnes on November 17, 2010


Why is this Topic Important to Wealth Managers?  Presents the general treatment of life insurance purchased through qualified pension plans.  Discusses a common scenario where life insurance premiums may be deductible by an employer aw well as the consequential income tax effect on plan participants. 

Suppose your client is the sole shareholder and president of a closely held corporation.  The business generates significant positive income and cash-flow on a steady basis. Assume the client himself may have an insurance need without the funds personally to cover the obligation.    Assuming further the business has a qualified pension (defined contribution or defined benefit) plan, one consideration may be to purchase life insurance through the qualified pension plan. [1]  Assume this option, up to an insurable interest limit, was also offered to all employees participating in the qualified plan. 

Since employer contributions to qualified plans are sometimes deductible, amount used to purchase life insurance may be also, subject to the incidental limitation. [2]  First though, “[t]o qualify for deduction as a contribution to a qualified plan, the employer’s contribution must first qualify as an ordinary and necessary business expense within the limits of reasonable compensation.” [3] As a general rule, so long as the amount of the insurance is no more than 25% of the total cost of the plan the amount may be deducted as an incidental benefit to the plan. 

Read the entire blogticle at AdvisorFYI.

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