Total Amount of Coverage
IRC section 79 provides an exclusion for the first $50,000 of group-term life insurance coverage provided under a policy carried directly or indirectly by an employer. There are no tax consequences if the total amount of such policies does not exceed $50,000. The imputed cost of coverage in excess of $50,000 must be included in income, using the IRS Premium Table, and are subject to social security and Medicare taxes.
Carried Directly or Indirectly by the Employer
A taxable fringe benefit arises if coverage exceeds $50,000 and the policy is considered carried directly or indirectly by the employer. A policy is considered carried directly or indirectly by the employer if:
- The employer pays any cost of the life insurance, or
- The employer arranges for the premium payments and the premiums paid by at least one employee subsidize those paid by at least one other employee (the “straddle” rule).
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