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Per IRS Publication 525 Taxable and Nontaxable Income, page 22:

Life Insurance Proceeds

Life insurance proceeds paid to you because of the death of the insured person aren't 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 issued on or before December 31, 1984. However, interest income received as a result of life insurance proceeds may be taxable.

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. In most cases, your cost (or investment in the contract) is the total of premiums that you paid for the life insurance policy, less any refunded premiums, rebates, dividends, or unrepaid loans that weren’t included in your income.

You should receive a Form 1099-R showing the total proceeds and the taxable part. Report these amounts on lines 5a and 5b of Form 1040 or 1040-SR.


To report the proceeds from a policy surrendered for cash, go to our Form 1099-R - Entering Distributions from Retirement Plans FAQ.


Note that any link in the information above is updated each year automatically and will take you to the most recent version of the webpage or document at the time it is accessed.


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