What Is a 1035 Exchange?
According to the most recent information available, Americans have individual life insurance with a total face value of $12.4 trillion.1
Due to a variety of factors, these individuals may find themselves in circumstances where the specific life insurance policy or annuity contract they own does not suit their needs.2 They may want to exchange products without incurring a taxable event.
That’s where Section 1035 of the Internal Revenue Code comes in. A 1035 exchange provides a means for exchanging an annuity contract or life insurance policy without being treated as if it had been surrendered or sold. Keep in mind that a 1035 exchange can be used only when it involves the same contract or policyholder and the same type of product.
Trading In an Older Policy
A 1035 exchange, provided certain requirements are met, gives policy or contract holders the flexibility to “trade-in” an older contract or policy for a newer contract or policy. A newer policy or contract may have lower costs, a higher death benefit, or more investment choices.
1035 exchanges involve a complex set of tax rules and regulations. Before moving forward with a 1035 exchange, consider working with a tax professional who is familiar with the rules and regulations.
Also, individuals can do a partial 1035 exchange for a portion of the total contract. A tax professional should be consulted for a partial exchange because any gain may be subject to ordinary income tax when withdrawn.
Several factors will affect the cost and availability of life insurance, including age, health and the type and amount of insurance purchased. Life insurance policies have expenses, including mortality and other charges. If a policy is surrendered prematurely, the policyholder also may pay surrender charges and have income tax implications. You should consider determining whether you are insurable before implementing a strategy involving life insurance. Any guarantees associated with a policy are dependent on the ability of the issuing insurance company to continue making claim payments.
Annuities have contract limitations, fees, and charges, including account and administrative fees, underlying investment management fees, mortality and expense fees, and charges for optional benefits. Most annuities have surrender fees that are usually highest if you take out the money in the initial years of the annuity contact. Withdrawals and income payments are taxed as ordinary income. If a withdrawal is made prior to age 59½, a 10% federal income tax penalty may apply (unless an exception applies). The guarantees of an annuity contract depend on the issuing company’s claims-paying ability. Annuities are not guaranteed by the FDIC or any other government agency. The earnings component of an annuity withdrawal is taxed as ordinary income and, if taken before age 59½, may be subject to a 10% federal income tax penalty. Annuities have fees and charges associated with the contract, and a surrender charge also may apply if the contract owner elects to give up the annuity before certain time-period conditions are satisfied.
Variable annuities are sold by prospectus, which contains detailed information about investment objectives and risks, as well as charges and expenses. You are encouraged to read the prospectus carefully before you invest or send money to buy a variable annuity contract. The prospectus is available from the insurance company or from your financial professional. Variable annuity subaccounts will fluctuate in value based on market conditions and may be worth more or less than the original amount invested if the annuity is surrendered.
1. American Council of Life Insurers, 2020
2. Endowment contracts and qualified long-term care contracts also may be eligible for a 1035 exchange. A tax professional should be consulted before considering an exchange.