Split Dollar Taxation


The tax treatment that is given to a split-dollar plan depends upon which party-the employer or the executive-owns the policy.  If the employer owns the life insurance policy, e.g. in an endorsement split-dollar plan, the employee has a reportable economic benefit based on the current value of the term insurance benefit provided and the dividends applied to his or her benefit.

The method by which employee taxation occurs under an employer-owned policy may vary, depending upon the particular situation.  Any of three methods may generally be used to determine the value of the term insurance in an employer-owned life insurance policy:

If the split-dollar plan involves a contractual agreement between the employee and employer requiring the use of P.S. 58 rates and the split dollar plan was entered into before January 28, 2002, P.S. 58 rates may be used.
Rates known as the Table 2001 rates may be used to measure the value of the current economic benefit, or
The lower of the insurer's published one year term premium rates or the Table 2001 rates may be used  


P.S.58 Rates Per $1,000 of One-Year Term Insurance
Attained Age
P.S. 58 Rate
Attained Age
P.S. 58 Rate
Attained Age
P.S. 58 Rate
15
$ 1.27
38
$ 3.87
61
$ 22.53
16
1.38
39
4.14
62
24.50
17
1.48
40
4.42
63
26.63
18
1.52
41
4.73
64
28.98
19
1.56
42
5.07
65
31.51
20
1.61
43
5.44
66
34.28
21
1.67
44
5.85
67
37.31
22
1.73
45
6.30
68
40.59
23
1.79
46
6.78
69
44.17
24
1.86
47
7.32
70
48.06
25
1.93
48
7.89
71
52.29
26
2.02
49
8.53
72
56.89
27
2.11
50
9.22
73
61.89
28
2.20
51
9.97
74
67.33
29
2.31
52
10.79
75
73.23
30
2.43
53
11.69
76
79.63
31
2.57
54
12.67
77
86.57
32
2.70
55
13.74
78
94.09
33
2.86
56
14.91
79
102.23
34
3.02
57
16.18
80
111.04
35
3.21
58
17.56
81
120.57
36
3.41
59
19.08
37
3.63
60
20.73





TABLE 2001 RATES PER $1,000 OF CURRENT INSURANCE PROTECTION

Attained Age
Table
2001 Rate
Attained Age
Table
2001 Rate
Attained Age
Table
2001 Rate
Attained Age
Table
2001 Rate
0
$ 0.70
25
$ 0.71
50
$ 2.30
75
$ 33.05
1
0.41
26
0.73
51
2.52
76
36.33
2
0.27
27
0.76
52
2.81
77
40.17
3
0.19
28
0.80
53
3.20
78
44.33
4
0.13
29
0.83
54
3.65
79
49.23
5
0.13
30
0.87
55
4.15
80
54.56
6
0.14
31
0.90
56
4.68
81
60.51
7
0.15
32
0.93
57
5.20
82
66.74
8
0.16
33
0.96
58
5.66
83
73.07
9
0.16
34
0.98
59
6.06
84
80.35
10
0.16
35
0.99
60
6.51
85
88.76
11
0.19
36
1.01
61
7.11
86
99.16
12
0.24
37
1.04
62
7.96
87
110.40
13
0.28
38
1.06
63
9.08
88
121.85
14
0.33
39
1.07
64
10.41
89
133.40
15
0.38
40
1.10
65
11.90
90
144.30
16
0.52
41
1.13
66
13.51
91
155.80
17
0.57
42
1.20
67
15.20
92
168.75
18
0.59
43
1.29
68
16.92
93
186.44
19
0.61
44
1.40
69
18.70
94
206.70
20
0.62
45
1.53
70
20.62
95
228.35
21
0.62
46
1.67
71
22.72
96
250.01
22
0.64
47
1.83
72
25.07
97
265.09
23
0.66
48
1.98
73
27.57
98
270.11
24
0.68
49
2.13
74
30.18
99
281.05


Split-dollar plans may use an insurer's lower one-year term insurance rates instead of the Table 2001 rates only if the insurer's one-year term insurance rates are available to all standard risks.  Split-dollar plans that are entered into after January 28, 2002 may use an insurer's one-year term insurance rates only if the insurer meets certain conditions:

The insurer must make the availability of those rates known to anyone that applies for term insurance coverage, and
The insurer must regularly sell term insurance at those lower rates to anyone that applies for term insurance coverage through its normal distribution channels.

 If the employee owns the life insurance policy instead of the employer, split-dollar taxation is quite different.  In such cases, the IRS makes a distinction between split dollar arrangements under which the employee must repay the employer's premium advances and those not requiring repayment.

The premiums paid by the employer are deemed loans on which the employee must pay interest if the employee is required to repay those premium advances.  In such a case, the employee-policyowner will be deemed to have received a below-market loan if he or she:

pays no interest, or
pays interest at a rate that is less than the applicable federal rate

Applicable federal rate
 The IRS publishes base interest rates each month that are known as the applicable federal rates (AFR). They are used for various purposes under the Code, including being used in imputed interest and original issue discount rules. The AFR is normally available during the third or fourth week of the month.

If the insured under the plan is deemed to have received a below-market loan, any unpaid interest is considered additional compensation and a simultaneous interest payment from the employee to the employer.  As a result, the employee has an additional tax liability equal to the interest that should have been, but was not, paid.  

In the unusual situation wherein the employee owns the life insurance policy and is not required to repay the employer's premium advances, the premium payments are considered additional compensation, subject to income taxation.  Although the insured that owns the policy may have additional compensation or an imputed loan, neither the value of the pure term insurance benefit nor any dividends applied to the insured's benefit result in income tax liability.  

The employee's tax treatment of split dollar plans is summarized in the chart below.


Split Dollar Insured Employee Tax Treatment  Summary
 Policy Owned By
Employer  Premium  Payments
Cash  Surrender Value Allocation
Value of Pure Term Life Insurance
Dividends Applied to Insured's Benefit
 Employee and obligation to repay employer premium payments
 Premium payments not taxable, but interest must be charged at least equal to AFR or imputation of taxable income results.
 No
 No
 No
 Employer
 No
 Yes, when split-dollar agreement is terminated and policy is rolled out
 Yes, imputed income based on Table 2001 rates or insurer's one-year term rates (P.S.58 rates in certain cases)
 Yes
 Employee but with no obligation to repay employer premium payments
 Yes, employer's premium payments are taxable as compensation
 No
 No
 No