Employer Owned Life Insurance and Notice 2009-48
Posted by William Byrnes on November 29, 2010
Why is this Topic Important to Wealth Managers? Provides an update for wealth managers into the status of employer owned life insurance. Discusses two notable exceptions to the general rule including income from the death benefits of an insurance policy when paid to a trade or business.
In 2006, Congress added Section 101(j) to the Internal Revenue Code which addresses the taxation of employer owned life insurance (EOLI) under Section 863 of the Pension Protection Act. The law departed from the traditional status of life insurance proceeds payable by death of the insured as excluded from gross income. 
Section 101(j) essentially taxes life insurance proceeds payable at death, in the amount over contributions or basis, when the policy is owned by a trade or business, where the employer is the beneficiary, and the employee is the insured.  There are a certain number of exceptions where the benefit payable to the beneficiary will remain excludable.  In all of the exceptional situations notice and consent requirements must be met.  For a discussion on the notice requirements specifically, or Section 101(j) generally, please see AdvisorFX: Death Benefits Under Employer Owned Life Insurance Contracts. 
Since the enactment of law, the Service has issued guidance in regards to what transactions may be allowed under section 101(j). That guidance came in part, last year when the Service published Notice 2009-48.
How do some of the exceptions work in consideration of the guidance published in Notice 2009-48? Read our entire analysis and citations at AdvisorFYI.