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Is there a tax on money received from a life insurance policy and if so is the tax paid by the beneficiary or by all who received money from the beneficiary per the decedents wishes?

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IT is paid by the one receiving the money. Similar to a ROTH IRA where the money is taxed as it is placed into the insurance policy then only the interest is taxable. if however the money is like a Traditional IRA where it is pretax money then the whole thing is taxable. Then the amount is concidered income and taxable up to 33% of total. IF the money sits with the insurance company and not cashed in and the insurance company doesnot collect interest then the policies is held without interest. One of the still remaining, best aspects of Life insurance, (the investment aspect of which has been generally agreed to be poor at best) is that the insurance industry has gotten congress to retain that payouts of life insurance to a beneficiary are NOT TAXABLE.
That is also why one should always have their insurance policy payable to a specific beneficiary...it passes very quickly, directly to them, out side of the estate and being outside the estate, is exempt from income estate/inheritance and transfer taxes. (If you make yourself or your estate the beneficiary, you would lose the last advantage,as it would become part of the estate).
citations:Amounts received under a "life insurance contract" , that are paid by reason of the insured's death aren't included in the gross income of the recipient (i.e., beneficiary) ( Code Sec. 101(a) ) (unless the policy was transferred for value). The exclusion applies to lump sum payments made at the time of the insured's death, and to amounts paid later to the extent the payment doesn't exceed the amount payable at death. ( Reg § 1.101-1(a)(1)
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