What is the taxation of life insurance


Life insurance and taxation can be a puzzling duo, leaving many unsure about the financial implications. Let's unravel this complexity, exploring the nuances and strategies that can make your life insurance journey more transparent.

life insurance

Understanding Surrender in Life Insurance

In the realm of life insurance, the term 'surrender' might sound perplexing, but it simply refers to withdrawal. You hold the power to make decisions on your contract at any time, leading to either a partial redemption, where your life insurance continues with reduced capital, or a total surrender, concluding your life insurance journey with the loss of its tax precedence.

An intriguing aspect is that your capital is never locked away. If urgent cash needs arise, a simple letter to your bank or insurer can initiate a withdrawal, offering financial flexibility. For those eyeing retirement income, scheduled partial redemptions can be a strategic move.

Navigating the Tax Landscape

The taxation of life insurance redemption hinges on your contract's age (less than 4 years, between 4 and 8 years, or over 8 years) and the timing of your payments. Beyond 8 years, you unlock deductions on capital-generated products, enjoying favorable taxation.

When you make a withdrawal, only the winnings face taxation, excluding the capital from the tax base. Your organization can provide the taxable amount upon request, adding an element of transparency to the process.

Old vs. New Taxation Models

  • Old Taxation (Before September 27, 2017)

Payments preceding this date adhere to the old taxation model. Interest and capital gains face taxation upon redemption, with the option of a decreasing fixed levy in full discharge (PFL). The PFL, coupled with social security contributions, makes life insurance increasingly appealing over time, especially for contracts exceeding 8 years.

Opting for PFL proves wise for those in higher tax brackets. With a policy aged over 8 years, an annual allowance of €4,600 on interest and capital gains (€9,200 for couples) sweetens the deal, providing an excellent avenue for additional income, particularly during retirement.

  • New Taxation (Post-September 27, 2017)

The finance law for 2018 ushered in changes, replacing PFL with the PFU (single flat-rate levy). Even with life insurance surpassing 8 years, a reduction of €4,600 per year persists. However, only winnings up to the initial €150,000 incur a 7.5% tax, while amounts beyond trigger a 12.8% tax (plus social security contributions).

Opting for PFU demands diligence, as the insurer withholds 12.8% on redemption, necessitating the inclusion of earnings in your tax return, subject to later regularization.

Tax-Free Scenarios: A Glimpse into Exceptions

In some instances of force majeure, subscribers can recover capital, interest, and capital gains without taxation. Notably, certain 'old' contracts, predating January 1, 1983, or those opened after this date with payments made before September 25, 1997, enjoy complete exemption from taxation upon redemption.

Legacy Planning with Life Insurance

Beyond its financial benefits, life insurance proves to be an invaluable tool for inheritance transmission. Through beneficiary clauses, you can designate recipients for the capital posthumously. The capital's treatment outside the estate, subject to favorable taxation, enhances its appeal compared to traditional inheritance rights.

In conclusion, understanding the intricacies of life insurance taxation empowers you to make informed financial decisions. Whether navigating the old or new taxation models, exploring tax-free scenarios, or considering life insurance as a legacy planning tool, clarity emerges as the key to financial well-being.


Q: Can I withdraw my life insurance capital without any taxation?

A: Yes, under certain force majeure circumstances, subscribers can recover capital, interest, and gains without facing any taxation.

Q: How does the age of my life insurance contract impact taxation?

A: The age of your contract plays a crucial role. Beyond 8 years, you enjoy deductions and favorable taxation on capital-generated products.

Q: What's the significance of the finance law for 2018 in life insurance taxation?

A: The law introduced the PFU, replacing the old PFL model, impacting how gains are integrated into income upon withdrawal.

Q: Are there exemptions from taxation for specific life insurance contracts?

A: 'Old' contracts, predating January 1, 1983, or those opened after this date with payments made before September 25, 1997, enjoy complete exemption from taxation upon redemption.

Q: How can life insurance be utilized for inheritance transmission?

A: Designating beneficiaries through clauses allows for the capital to be treated favorably outside the estate, enhancing its appeal for legacy planning.


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