Keyman Insurance: IRS Notice & Consent Requirements

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 Keyman, Key Person Death Benefits are Tax-Free if...

Beware of the tax-traps lurking on keyman, key person life insurance.

Beware of the tax-traps lurking on keyman, key person life insurance.

Keyman, Key person death benefits are tax-free to the Company if certain Notice and Consent Requirements are met prior to issuance of the Policy, and certain conditions are met at the time of death.  If they are not met, the insurance death benefits in excess ot the premiums paid, are taxed as ordinary income.



The insurance industry has created a standard IRS-approved form:  ‘Notice and Acknowledgement of Consent to Life Insurance’ that can be provided to the employee at the time of the application for key man Company Owned Life Insurance (COLI).

IRS Notice and Consent Requirements

Effective for life insurance contracts issued after August 17, 2006

Definition:  The law defines “employer-owned life insurance” broadly. It includes any policy if:

  • The owner engages in a trade or business, and
  • The owner (or a related party) is a beneficiary (direct or indirect), and
  • The insured is an employee at the time of policy issue, a
  • The insured is a U.S. citizen or resident.

The notice and consent requirements…are met if, before the issuance of the contract:

  • The employee is notified in writing that the applicable policyholder intends to insure the employee’s life and the maximum face amount for which the employee could be insured at the time the contract was issued,
  • The employee provides written consent to being insured under the contract and that such coverage may continue after the insured terminates employment, and
  • The employee is informed in writing that an applicable policyholder will be a beneficiary of any proceeds payable upon the death of the employee.

There are other conditions that must be met at the time of death.

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