Generally, income is taxable unless it is specifically exempted by
law. Your taxable income may include compensation for services,
interest, dividends, rents, royalties, income from partnerships,
estate and trust income, gain from sales or exchanges of property, and
business income of all kinds.
Under special provisions of the law, certain items are partially,
or fully, exempt from tax. Provisions that are of special interest to
older taxpayers are discussed in this section.
Compensation for Services
Generally, you must include in gross income everything you receive
in payment for personal services. In addition to wages, salaries,
commissions, fees, and tips, this includes other forms of compensation
such as fringe benefits and stock options.
You need not receive the compensation in cash for it to be taxable.
Payments you receive in the form of goods or services generally must
be included in gross income at their fair market value.
You must include in your income all unemployment compensation you
receive. See Publication 525,
Taxable and Nontaxable Income,
for more detailed information on specific types of income.
Do not include in your gross income amounts you receive for
supportive services or reimbursements for out-of-pocket expenses under
any of the following volunteer programs:
- Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP)
- Foster Grandparent Program
- Senior Companion Program
- Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE)
Retirement Plan Distributions
This section summarizes the tax treatment of amounts you receive
from certain individual retirement arrangements, employee pensions or
annuities, and disability pensions or annuities. More detailed
information can be found in Publication 590,
Retirement Arrangements (IRAs) (Including Roth IRAs and Education
IRAs), or Publication 575,
Pension and Annuity Income.
Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs)
In general, include distributions from a traditional IRA in your
gross income in the year you receive them. A traditional IRA is any
IRA that is not a Roth, SIMPLE, or education IRA. Exceptions to the
general rule are rollovers and tax-free withdrawals of contributions,
and the return of nondeductible contributions. These exceptions are
discussed in Publication 590.
If you made nondeductible contributions to a traditional IRA, you
must file Form 8606, Nondeductible IRAs. If you do not file
Form 8606 with your return, you may have to pay a $50 penalty. Also,
when you receive distributions from your traditional IRA, the amounts
will be taxed unless you can show, with satisfactory evidence, that
nondeductible contributions were made.
For more information on IRAs, see Publication 590.
Generally, early distributions are amounts distributed from your
traditional IRA account or annuity before you are age 59 1/2, or amounts you receive when you cash in retirement bonds
before you are age 59 1/2. You must include early
distributions of taxable amounts in your gross income. These taxable
amounts are also subject to an additional 10% tax unless the
distribution qualifies as an exception. See Tax on Early
After age 59 1/2 and before age 70 1/2.
After you reach age 59 1/2, you can receive
distributions from your traditional IRA without having to pay the 10%
additional tax. Even though you can receive distributions after you
reach age 59 1/2, distributions are not required until you
reach age 70 1/2.
If you are the owner of a traditional IRA, you must receive the
entire balance in your IRA or start receiving periodic distributions
from your IRA by April 1 of the year following the year in which you
reach age 70 1/2. See When Must I Withdraw IRA
Assets? (Required Distributions) in Publication 590.
distributions from your traditional IRA(s) are less than the required
minimum distribution for the year, you may have to pay a 50% excise
tax for that year on the amount not distributed as required. See
Tax on Excess Accumulation, later.
Pensions and Annuities
Generally, if you did not pay any part of the cost of your employee
pension or annuity, and your employer did not withhold part of the
cost of the contract from your pay while you worked, the amounts you
receive each year are fully taxable.
If you contributed to your pension or annuity plan, you can exclude
part of each annuity payment from income as a recovery of your cost.
This tax-free part of the payment is figured when your annuity starts
and remains the same each year, even if the amount of the payment
changes. The rest of each payment is taxable.
You figure the tax-free part of the payment using one of the
- Simplified Method. You generally must use this
method if your annuity is paid under a qualified plan (a qualified
employee plan, a qualified employee annuity, or a tax-sheltered
annuity plan or contract). You cannot use this method if your annuity
is paid under a nonqualified plan.
- General Rule. You must use this method if your
annuity is paid under a nonqualified plan. You generally cannot use
this method if your annuity is paid under a qualified plan.
You determine which method to use when you first begin receiving
your annuity, and you continue using it each year that you recover
part of your cost.
If you contributed to your pension or annuity and your annuity
starting date is before 1987, you can continue to take your monthly
exclusion for as long as you receive your annuity.
If your annuity starting date is after 1986, the total amount of
annuity income you can exclude over the years as a recovery of the
cost cannot exceed your total cost.
In either case, any unrecovered cost at your (or the last
annuitant's) death is allowed as a miscellaneous itemized deduction on
the final return of the decedent. This deduction is not subject to the
2%-of-adjusted- gross-income limit on miscellaneous deductions.
Before you can figure how much, if any, of your pension or annuity
benefits is taxable, you must determine your cost in the plan (your
investment). In general, your cost is your net investment in the
contract as of the annuity starting date. This includes amounts your
employer contributed that were taxable when paid.
From this total cost paid or considered paid by you, subtract any
refunded premiums, rebates, dividends, unrepaid loans, or other
tax-free amounts you received by the later of the annuity starting
date or the date on which you received your first payment.
The annuity starting date is the later of the first day
of the first period for which you receive a payment from the plan or
the date on which the plan's obligation becomes fixed.
Generally, the amount of your contributions to the plan may be
shown in box 9b of Form 1099-R, Distributions From
Pensions, Annuities, Retirement or Profit-Sharing Plans, IRAs,
Insurance Contracts, etc.
Foreign employment contributions.
If you worked in a foreign country before 1963, the amount your
employer paid into your retirement plan may be considered part of your
cost. For details, see Foreign employment contributions in
The payer of your pension, profit-sharing, stock bonus, annuity, or
deferred compensation plan will withhold income tax on the taxable
part of amounts paid to you. You can choose not to have tax withheld
except for amounts paid to you that are eligible rollover
distributions. See Withholding Tax and Estimated Tax and
Rollovers in Publication 575
for more information.
For payments other than eligible rollover distributions, you can
tell the payer how to withhold by filing a Form W-4P,
Withholding Certificate for Pension or Annuity Payments.
Under the Simplified Method, you figure the tax-free part of each
annuity payment by dividing your cost by the total number of
anticipated monthly payments. For an annuity that is payable for the
lives of the annuitants, this number is based on the annuitants' ages
on the annuity starting date and is determined from a table. For any
other annuity, this number is the number of monthly annuity payments
under the contract.
Who must use the Simplified Method.
You generally must use the Simplified Method if your annuity
starting date is after November 18, 1996, and you receive your pension
or annuity payments from a qualified plan or annuity.
In addition, if your annuity starting date is after July 1, 1986,
and before November 19, 1996, you generally could have chosen
to use the Simplified Method for payments from a qualified plan.
Who cannot use the Simplified Method.
You cannot use the Simplified Method and must use the General Rule
if you receive pension or annuity payments from:
- A nonqualified plan (such as a private annuity, a purchased
commercial annuity, or a nonqualified employee plan), or
- A qualified plan if you are age 75 or older on your annuity
starting date and your annuity payments are guaranteed for at least 5
In addition, you must use the General Rule for payments from a
qualified plan if your annuity starting date is after July 1, 1986,
and before November 19, 1996, and you did not choose to use the
Simplified Method. (You also must use the General Rule for payments
from a qualified plan if your annuity starting date is before July 2,
1986, and you did not qualify to use the Three-Year Rule.)
Complete information on the General Rule, including the tables you
need, is contained in Publication 939,
General Rule for Pensions
Your annuity contract provides guaranteed payments if a minimum
number of payments or a minimum amount (for example, the amount of
your investment) is payable even if you and any survivor annuitant do
not live to receive the minimum. If the minimum amount is less than
the total amount of the payments you are to receive, barring death,
during the first 5 years after payments begin (figured by ignoring any
payment increases), you are entitled to fewer than 5 years of
How to use the Simplified Method.
Complete the Simplified Method Worksheet in the Form
1040 or Form 1040A instructions or in Publication 575
to figure your
taxable annuity for 2000. If the annuity is payable only over your
life, use your age on your annuity starting date to complete line 3 of
the worksheet. If your annuity is payable over your life and the lives
of other individuals, use your combined ages on the annuity starting
date. (However, if your annuity starting date is before 1998, use the
primary annuitant's age on the annuity starting date.) If the annuity
does not depend on anyone's life expectancy, use the total number of
monthly annuity payments under the contract.
Be sure to keep a copy of the completed worksheet; it will help you
figure your taxable annuity in later years.
Bill Kirkland, age 65, began receiving retirement benefits in
January 2000, under a joint and survivor annuity. Bill's annuity
starting date is January 1, 2000. The benefits are to be paid for the
joint lives of Bill and his wife, Kathy, age 65. Bill had contributed
$31,000 to a qualified plan and had received no distributions before
the annuity starting date. Bill is to receive a retirement benefit of
$1,200 a month, and Kathy is to receive a monthly survivor benefit of
$600 upon Bill's death.
Bill must use the Simplified Method to figure his taxable annuity
because his payments are from a qualified plan and he is under age 75.
His completed Simplified Method Worksheet is illustrated on this page.
Because his annuity is payable over the lives of more than one
annuitant, Bill uses his and Kathy's combined ages and Table 2 at the
bottom of the worksheet in completing line 3 of the worksheet. Bill's
tax-free monthly amount is $100 ($31,000 x 310 as shown on line
4 of the worksheet). Upon Bill's death, if Bill has not recovered the
full $31,000 investment, Kathy will also exclude $100 from her $600
monthly payment. The full amount of any annuity payments received
after 310 payments are paid must be included in gross income.
If Bill and Kathy die before 310 payments are made, a miscellaneous
itemized deduction will be allowed for the unrecovered cost on the
final income tax return of the last to die. This deduction is not
subject to the 2%-of-adjusted-gross-income limit.
Example 1 -- Bill Kirkland
If you receive a survivor annuity because of the death of a retiree
who had reported the annuity under the Three-Year Rule,
include the total received in income. (The retiree's cost has already
been recovered tax free.)
If the retiree was reporting the annuity payments under the
General Rule, you must apply the same exclusion percentage
the retiree used to your initial payment called for in the contract.
The resulting tax-free amount will then remain fixed. Any increases in
the survivor annuity are fully taxable.
If the retiree was reporting the annuity payments under the
Simplified Method, the part of each payment that is tax
free is the same as the tax-free amount figured by the retiree at the
annuity starting date. See Simplified Method, earlier.
How to report.
If you file Form 1040, report your total annuity on line 16a, and
the taxable part on line 16b. If your pension or annuity is fully
taxable, enter it on line 16b. Do not make an entry on line 16a. For
example, if you received monthly payments totaling $1,200 during 2000
from a pension plan that was completely financed by your employer, and
you had paid no tax on the payments that your employer made to the
plan, the entire $1,200 is taxable. You include $1,200 on line 16b,
If you file Form 1040A, report your total annuity on line 12a, and
the taxable part on line 12b. If your pension or annuity is fully
taxable, enter it on line 12b. Do not make an entry on line 12a.
If you file a joint return and you and your spouse each receive one
or more pensions or annuities, report the total of the pensions and
annuities on line 16a, Form 1040, or line 12a, Form 1040A, and report
the taxable part on line 16b, Form 1040, or line 12b, Form 1040A.
You should receive a Form 1099-R for your pension or annuity.
Form 1099-R shows your pension or annuity for the year and any
income tax withheld.
If you receive a nonperiodic distribution from your retirement
plan, you may be able to exclude all or part of it from your income as
a recovery of your cost. Nonperiodic distributions include cash
withdrawals, distributions of current earnings, and certain loans. For
information on how to figure the taxable amount of a nonperiodic
distribution, see Taxation of Nonperiodic Payments in
The taxable part of a nonperiodic distribution may be subject to an
additional 10% tax. See Tax on Early Distributions, later.
If you receive a lump-sum distribution from a qualified retirement
plan (a qualified employee plan or qualified employee annuity) and the
plan participant was born before 1936, you may be able to elect
optional methods of figuring the tax on the distribution. The part
from active participation in the plan before 1974 may qualify as
capital gain subject to a 20% tax rate. The part from participation
after 1973 (and any part from participation before 1974 that you do
not report as capital gain) is ordinary income. You may be able to use
the 10-year tax option to figure tax on the ordinary income part.
The 5-year tax option for figuring the tax on lump-sum
distributions has been repealed.
If you receive a total distribution from a plan, you should receive
a Form 1099-R. If the distribution qualifies as a lump-sum
distribution, box 3 shows the capital gain. The amount in box 2a minus
the amount in box 3 is the ordinary income.
For more detailed information on lump-sum distributions, get
or Form 4972, Tax on Lump-Sum Distributions.
Tax on Early Distributions
Most distributions you receive from your qualified retirement plan
or deferred annuity contract before you reach age 59 1/2
are subject to an additional tax of 10%. The tax applies to the
taxable part of the distribution.
For this purpose, a qualified retirement plan is:
- A qualified employee plan,
- A qualified employee annuity plan,
- A tax-sheltered annuity plan for employees of public schools
or tax-exempt organizations, or
- An IRA (other than an education IRA).
25% rate on certain early distributions from SIMPLE IRA
An early distribution from a SIMPLE IRA is generally subject to the
10% additional tax. However, if the distribution is made within the
first two years of participation in the SIMPLE plan, the additional
tax is 25%. Your Form 1099-R should show distribution code "S"
in box 7 if the 25% rate applies. On line line 4 of Form 5329,
Additional Taxes Attributable to IRAs, Other Qualified Retirement
Plans, Annuities, Modified Endowment Contracts, and MSAs,
multiply by 25% instead of 10%.
5% rate on certain early distributions from deferred annuity
If an early withdrawal from a deferred annuity is otherwise subject
to the 10% additional tax, a 5% rate may apply instead. A 5% rate
applies to distributions under a written election providing a
specific schedule for the distribution of your interest in the
contract if, as of March 1, 1986, you had begun receiving payments
under the election. On line 4 of Form 5329, multiply by 5% instead of
10%. Attach an explanation to your return.
Exceptions to tax.
The early distribution tax does not apply to any distribution that
meets one of the following exceptions.
The tax does not apply to distributions that are:
- Made as part of a series of substantially equal periodic
payments (made at least annually) for your life (or life expectancy)
or the joint lives (or joint life expectancies) of you and your
beneficiary (but, if from a qualified retirement plan other than an
IRA, only if the payments begin after your separation from service),
- Made because you are totally and permanently disabled,
- Made on or after the death of the plan participant or
Additional exceptions for qualified retirement plans.
The tax does not apply to distributions that are:
- From a qualified retirement plan (other than an IRA) after
your separation from service in or after the year you reached age 55,
- From a qualified retirement plan (other than an IRA) to an
alternate payee under a qualified domestic relations order,
- From a qualified retirement plan to the extent you have
deductible medical expenses (medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of your
adjusted gross income), whether or not you itemize your deductions for
- From an employer plan under a written election that provides
a specific schedule for distribution of your entire interest if, as of
March 1, 1986, you had separated from service and had begun receiving
payments under the election,
- From an employee stock ownership plan for dividends on
employer securities held by the plan, or
- From a qualified retirement plan due to an IRS levy of the
Additional exceptions for IRAs.
The tax does not apply to distributions that are:
- From an IRA for medical insurance premiums if you are
- From an IRA to the extent of your higher education
- From an IRA for first home purchases.
For detailed information about the exceptions that apply only to
IRAs, see When Can I Withdraw or Use IRA Assets in chapter
1 of Publication 590.
Additional exceptions for nonqualified annuity contracts.
The tax does not apply to distributions that are:
- From a deferred annuity contract to the extent allocable to
investment in the contract before August 14, 1982,
- From a deferred annuity contract under a qualified personal
- From a deferred annuity contract purchased by your employer
upon termination of a qualified employee plan or qualified annuity
plan and held by your employer until your separation from service,
- From an immediate annuity contract (a single premium
contract providing substantially equal annuity payments that start
within one year from the date of purchase and are paid at least
Reporting tax or exception.
If distribution code 1 (early distribution, no known exception) is
shown in box 7 of Form 1099-R, multiply the taxable part of the
early distribution by 10% and enter the result on line 54 of Form
1040. Write "No" on the dotted line. You do not have to file Form
You do not have to file Form 5329 if you qualify for an exception
to the 10% tax and distribution code 2, 3, or 4 is shown in box 7 of
Form 1099-R. However, you must file Form 5329 if the code is not
shown or the code shown is incorrect (e.g., code 1 is shown although
you meet an exception).
Tax on Excess Accumulation
To make sure that most of your retirement benefits are paid to you
during your lifetime, rather than to your beneficiaries after your
death, the payments that you receive from qualified retirement plans
must begin no later than your required beginning date
unless the rule for 5% owners and IRAs applies. This is April 1
of the year that follows the later of:
- The calendar year in which you reach age 70 1/2,
- The calendar year in which you retire.
The additional tax applies to qualified employee plans, qualified
employee annuity plans, section 457 deferred compensation plans,
tax-sheltered annuity plans (for benefits accruing after 1986), and
IRAs (other than education IRAs and Roth IRAs).
5% owners and IRAs.
If you own more than 5% of the company maintaining the plan, you
must begin to receive distributions by April 1 of the year after the
calendar year in which you reach age 70 1/2, regardless of
when you retire.
Amount of tax.
If you do not receive the required minimum distribution, you are
subject to an additional tax. The tax equals 50% of the difference
between the amount that must be distributed and the amount that was
distributed during the tax year. You can get this excise tax excused
if you establish that the shortfall in distributions was due to
reasonable error and that you are taking reasonable steps to remedy
You must file a Form 5329 if you owe a tax because you did not
receive a minimum required distribution from your qualified retirement
For more detailed information on the tax on excess accumulation,
see Publication 575.
If you bought an annuity contract directly from the issuer rather
than through an employee plan, you must treat the contract as a
nonqualified plan. This means that you must use the General Rule to
figure the tax-free part of annuity payments you receive. (For
information about the General Rule, see Publication 939.)
withdraw funds from the annuity contract or receive other nonperiodic
distributions, you must use the rules for nonqualified plans to figure
the tax-free part, if any. See Taxation of Nonperiodic Payments
in Publication 575
for information about those rules. Also see
Variable Annuities in Publication 575
if the contract
provides payments that vary in amount based on investment results or
Sale of annuity.
Gain on the sale of an annuity contract before its maturity date is
ordinary income to the extent that the gain is due to interest
accumulated on the contract. You do not recognize gain or loss on an
exchange of an annuity contract solely for another annuity contract if
the insured or annuitant remains the same. See Transfers of
Annuity Contracts in Publication 575
for more information about
exchanges of annuity contracts.
Railroad Retirement Benefits
Benefits paid under the Railroad Retirement Act fall into two
categories. These categories are treated differently for income tax
The first category is the amount of tier 1 railroad retirement
benefits that equals the social security benefit that a railroad
employee or beneficiary would have been entitled to receive under the
social security system. This part of the tier 1 benefit is called the
"social security equivalent benefit" (SSEB) and is treated (for
tax purposes) like social security benefits. (See Social Security
and Equivalent Railroad Retirement Benefits, later.)
Non-social security equivalent benefits.
The second category consists of the rest of the tier 1 benefits,
called the "non-social security equivalent benefit" (NSSEB), and
any tier 2 benefit, vested dual benefit (VDB), and supplemental
annuity benefit. This category of benefits is treated as an amount
received from a qualified employer plan. This allows for the tax-free
recovery of employee contributions from the tier 2 benefits and the
NSSEB part of the tier 1 benefits. Vested dual benefits and
supplemental annuity benefits are fully taxable.
For more information about railroad retirement benefits, see
Military Retirement Pay
Military retirement pay based on age or length of service is
taxable and must be included in gross income as a pension on lines 16a
and 16b of Form 1040 or on lines 12a and 12b of Form 1040A. But
certain military and government disability pensions that are based on
a percentage of disability from active service in the Armed Forces of
any country are generally not taxable.
Veterans' benefits and insurance are discussed in Publication 525.
Sickness and Injury Benefits
Most payments you receive as compensation for illness or injury are
not taxable. These include the following.
Amounts you receive as workers' compensation for an occupational
sickness or injury are fully exempt from tax if they are paid under a
workers' compensation act or a statute in the nature of a workers'
compensation act. The exemption also applies to your survivor(s).
If part of your workers' compensation reduces your social security
or equivalent railroad retirement benefits received, that part is
considered social security (or equivalent railroad retirement)
benefits and may be taxable.
Return to work.
If you return to work after qualifying for workers' compensation,
payments you continue to receive while assigned to light duties are
Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA).
Payments received under this Act for personal injury or sickness,
including payments to beneficiaries in case of death, are not taxable.
However, you are taxed on amounts you receive under this Act as
"continuation of pay" for up to 45 days while a claim is being
decided. Also, pay for sick leave while a claim is being processed is
taxable and must be included in your income as wages.
Benefits under an accident or health insurance policy.
Benefits you receive under an accident or health insurance policy
are not taxable if:
- You paid the premiums, or
- Your employer paid the premiums and you included the
premiums in your gross income.
Long-term care insurance contracts.
Long-term care insurance contracts are generally treated as
accident and health insurance contracts. Amounts you receive from them
(other than policyholder dividends or premium refunds) generally are
excludable from income as amounts received for personal injury or
sickness. Long-term care insurance contracts are discussed in more
detail in Publication 525.
Compensation for permanent loss or disfigurement.
Compensation you receive for permanent loss or loss of use of a
part or function of your body, or for your permanent disfigurement is
not taxable. This compensation must be based only on the injury and
not on the period of your absence from work. These benefits are not
taxable even if your employer pays for the accident and health plan
that provides these benefits.
Benefits you receive for loss of income or earning capacity as a
result of injuries under a "no-fault" car insurance policy are
Generally, if you retire on disability, you must report your
pension or annuity as income.
If you were 65 or older by the end of 2000, or you were retired on
permanent and total disability and received taxable disability income,
you may be able to claim the credit for the elderly or the disabled.
See Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled, later.
Taxable disability pensions or annuities.
Generally, you must report as income any amount you receive for
your disability through an accident or health insurance plan that is
paid for by your employer. However, certain payments may not be
taxable to you. See Sickness or Injury Benefits, earlier.
Cost paid by you.
If you pay the entire cost of a health or accident insurance plan,
do not include any amounts you receive for your disability as income
on your tax return. If your plan reimbursed you for medical expenses
you deducted in an earlier year, you may have to include some, or all,
of the reimbursement in your income.
Accrued leave payment.
If you retire on disability, any lump-sum payment you receive for
accrued annual leave is a salary payment. The payment is not a
disability payment. Include it in your income in the year you receive
If part of your disability pension is workers' compensation, that
part is exempt from tax. If you die, the part of your survivor's
benefit that is a continuation of the workers' compensation is exempt
How to report.
You must report all your taxable disability income as wages on line
7 of Form 1040 or Form 1040A, until you reach minimum retirement age.
Generally, this is the age at which you can first receive a pension or
annuity if you are not disabled.
Beginning on the day after you reach minimum retirement age, the
payments you receive are taxable as a pension. Report them on lines
16a and 16b of Form 1040 or on lines 12a and 12b of Form 1040A.
Life Insurance Proceeds
Life insurance proceeds paid to you because of the death of the
insured person are not taxable unless the policy was turned over to
you for a price. This is true even if the proceeds were paid under an
accident or health insurance policy or an endowment contract.
Proceeds not received in installments.
If death benefits are paid to you in a lump sum or other than at
regular intervals, include in your income only the benefits that are
more than the amount payable to you at the time of the insured
person's death. If the benefit payable at death is not specified, you
include in your income the benefit payments that are more than the
present value of the payments at the time of death.
Proceeds received in installments.
If you receive life insurance proceeds in installments, you can
exclude part of each installment from your income.
To determine the excluded part, divide the amount held by the
insurance company (generally the total lump sum payable at the death
of the insured person) by the number of installments to be paid.
Include anything over this excluded part in your income as interest.
Installments for life.
If, as the beneficiary under an insurance contract, you are
entitled to receive the proceeds in installments for the rest of your
life without a refund or period-certain guarantee, you figure the
excluded part of each installment by dividing the amount held by the
insurance company by your life expectancy. If there is a refund or
period-certain guarantee, the amount held by the insurance company for
this purpose is reduced by the actuarial value of the guarantee.
If your spouse died before October 23, 1986, and insurance proceeds
paid to you because of the death of your spouse are received in
installments, you can exclude up to $1,000 a year of the interest
included in the installments. If you remarry, you can continue to take
Surrender of policy for cash.
If you surrender a life insurance policy for cash, you must include
in income any proceeds that are more than the cost of the life
insurance policy. You should receive a Form 1099-R showing the
total proceeds and the taxable part. Report these amounts on lines 16a
and 16b of Form 1040, or lines 12a and 12b of Form 1040A.
Endowment proceeds paid in a lump sum to you at maturity are
taxable only if the proceeds are more than the cost of the policy. To
determine your cost, add the aggregate amount of premiums (or other
consideration) paid for the contract and subtract any amount that you
previously received under the contract and excluded from your income.
Include any amount of the lump-sum payment over your cost in your
Endowment proceeds that you choose to receive in installments
instead of a lump-sum payment at the maturity of the policy are taxed
as an annuity. This is explained in Publication 575.
treatment to apply, you must choose to receive the proceeds in
installments before receiving any part of the lump sum. This election
must be made within 60 days after the lump-sum payment first becomes
payable to you.
Generally, payments made by or for an employer because of an
employee's death must be included in income.
Accelerated Death Benefits
Certain payments made as accelerated death benefits under a life
insurance contract or viatical settlement before the insured's death
are excluded from income if the insured is terminally or chronically
ill. See Exception later. For a chronically ill individual,
the payments must be for costs incurred for qualified long-term care
services or made on a periodic basis without regard to the costs.
In addition, if any portion of a death benefit under a life
insurance contract on the life of a terminally or chronically ill
individual is sold or assigned to a viatical settlement provider, the
amount received is also excluded from income. Generally, a viatical
settlement provider is one who regularly engages in the business of
buying or taking assignment of life insurance contracts on the lives
of insured individuals who are terminally or chronically ill.
To claim an exclusion for accelerated death benefits made on a per
diem or other periodic basis, you must file Form 8853, Medical
Savings Accounts and Long-Term Care Insurance Contracts, with
Terminally or chronically ill defined.
A terminally ill person is one who has been certified by a
physician as having an illness or physical condition that can
reasonably be expected to result in death within 24 months from the
date of the certification. A chronically ill person is one who is not
terminally ill but has been certified by a licensed health care
practitioner as meeting either of the following conditions.
- The person is unable to perform (without substantial help)
at least two activities of daily living for a period of 90 days or
more because of a loss of functional capacity.
- The person requires substantial supervision to protect
himself or herself from threats to health and safety due to severe
The exclusion does not apply to any amount paid to a person other
than the insured if that other person has an insurable interest in the
life of the insured:
- Because the insured is a director, officer, or employee of
the other person, or
- Because the insured has a financial interest in the business
of the other person.
For more information on life insurance proceeds, see Publication 525.
For more information on annuities, see Publication 575.
Other Nontaxable Items
The following items are generally excluded from taxable income. You
should not report them on your return.
Gifts and inheritances.
Generally, property you receive as a gift, bequest, or inheritance
is not included in your income. However, if property you receive this
way later produces income such as interest, dividends, or rents, that
income is taxable to you. If property is given to a trust and the
income from it is paid, credited, or distributed to you, that also is
income to you. If the gift, bequest, or inheritance is the income from
the property, that income is taxable to you.
Veterans' benefits under any law, regulation, or administrative
practice administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), are
not included in gross income. See Publication 525.
Do not include in your income benefit payments from a public
welfare fund, such as payments due to blindness.
Payments from a state fund for victims of crime.
These payments should not be included in the victims' incomes if
they are in the nature of welfare payments. Do not deduct medical
expenses that are reimbursed by such a fund.
Mortgage assistance payments.
Payments made under section 235 of the National Housing Act for
mortgage assistance are not included in the homeowner's income.
Interest paid for the homeowner under the mortgage assistance program
cannot be deducted.
Payments to reduce cost of winter energy use.
Payments made by a state to qualified people to reduce their cost
of winter energy use are not taxable.
Nutrition Program for the Elderly.
Food benefits you receive under the Nutrition Program for the
Elderly are not taxable. If you prepare and serve free meals for the
program, include in your income as wages the cash pay you receive,
even if you are also eligible for food benefits.
Previous | First | Next
Publication Index | 2000 Tax Help Archives | Tax Help Archives | Home