Subpart E - Definitions and Special Rules

26 USC 816 - Life insurance company defined

(a) Life insurance company defined 
For purposes of this subtitle, the term life insurance company means an insurance company which is engaged in the business of issuing life insurance and annuity contracts (either separately or combined with accident and health insurance), or noncancellable contracts of health and accident insurance, if
(1) its life insurance reserves (as defined in subsection (b)), plus
(2) unearned premiums, and unpaid losses (whether or not ascertained), on noncancellable life, accident, or health policies not included in life insurance reserves,

comprise more than 50 percent of its total reserves (as defined in subsection (c)). For purposes of the preceding sentence, the term insurance company means any company more than half of the business of which during the taxable year is the issuing of insurance or annuity contracts or the reinsuring of risks underwritten by insurance companies.

(b) Life insurance reserves defined 


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(1) In general 
For purposes of this part, the term life insurance reserves means amounts
(A) which are computed or estimated on the basis of recognized mortality or morbidity tables and assumed rates of interest, and
(B) which are set aside to mature or liquidate, either by payment or reinsurance, future unaccrued claims arising from life insurance, annuity, and noncancellable accident and health insurance contracts (including life insurance or annuity contracts combined with noncancellable accident and health insurance) involving, at the time with respect to which the reserve is computed, life, accident, or health contingencies.
(2) Reserves must be required by law 
Except
(A) in the case of policies covering life, accident, and health insurance combined in one policy issued on the weekly premium payment plan, continuing for life and not subject to cancellation, and
(B) as provided in paragraph (3),

in addition to the requirements set forth in paragraph (1), life insurance reserves must be required by law.

(3) Assessment companies 
In the case of an assessment life insurance company or association, the term life insurance reserves includes
(A) sums actually deposited by such company or association with State officers pursuant to law as guaranty or reserve funds, and
(B) any funds maintained, under the charter or articles of incorporation or association (or bylaws approved by a State insurance commissioner) of such company or association, exclusively for the payment of claims arising under certificates of membership or policies issued on the assessment plan and not subject to any other use.
(4) Amount of reserves 
For purposes of this subsection, subsection (a), and subsection (c), the amount of any reserve (or portion thereof) for any taxable year shall be the mean of such reserve (or portion thereof) at the beginning and end of the taxable year.

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(c) Total reserves defined 
For purposes of subsection (a), the term total reserves means
(1) life insurance reserves,
(2) unearned premiums, and unpaid losses (whether or not ascertained), not included in life insurance reserves, and
(3) all other insurance reserves required by law.
(d) Adjustments in reserves for policy loans 
For purposes only of determining under subsection (a) whether or not an insurance company is a life insurance company, the life insurance reserves, and the total reserves, shall each be reduced by an amount equal to the mean of the aggregates, at the beginning and end of the taxable year, of the policy loans outstanding with respect to contracts for which life insurance reserves are maintained.
(e) Guaranteed renewable contracts 
For purposes of this part, guaranteed renewable life, accident, and health insurance shall be treated in the same manner as noncancellable life, accident, and health insurance.
(f) Amounts not involving life, accident, or health contingencies 
For purposes only of determining under subsection (a) whether or not an insurance company is a life insurance company, amounts set aside and held at interest to satisfy obligations under contracts which do not contain permanent guarantees with respect to life, accident, or health contingencies shall not be included in reserves described in paragraph (1) or (3) of subsection (c).
(g) Burial and funeral benefit insurance companies 
A burial or funeral benefit insurance company engaged directly in the manufacture of funeral supplies or the performance of funeral services shall not be taxable under this part but shall be taxable under section 831.
(h) Treatment of deficiency reserves 
For purposes of this section and section 842 (b)(2)(B)(i), the terms life insurance reserves and total reserves shall not include deficiency reserves.

26 USC 817 - Treatment of variable contracts

(a) Increases and decreases in reserves 
For purposes of subsections (a) and (b) of section 807, the sum of the items described in section 807 (c) taken into account as of the close of the taxable year with respect to any variable contract shall, under regulations prescribed by the Secretary, be adjusted
(1) by subtracting therefrom an amount equal to the sum of the amounts added from time to time (for the taxable year) to the reserves separately accounted for in accordance with subsection (c) by reason of appreciation in value of assets (whether or not the assets have been disposed of), and
(2) by adding thereto an amount equal to the sum of the amounts subtracted from time to time (for the taxable year) from such reserves by reason of depreciation in value of assets (whether or not the assets have been disposed of).

The deduction allowable for items described in paragraphs (1) and (6) of section 805 (a) with respect to variable contracts shall be reduced to the extent that the amount of such items is increased for the taxable year by appreciation (or increased to the extent that the amount of such items is decreased for the taxable year by depreciation) not reflected in adjustments under the preceding sentence.

(b) Adjustment to basis of assets held in segregated asset account 
In the case of variable contracts, the basis of each asset in a segregated asset account shall (in addition to all other adjustments to basis) be
(1) increased by the amount of any appreciation in value, and
(2) decreased by the amount of any depreciation in value,

to the extent such appreciation and depreciation are from time to time reflected in the increases and decreases in reserves or other items referred to in subsection (a) with respect to such contracts.

(c) Separate accounting 
For purposes of this part, a life insurance company which issues variable contracts shall separately account for the various income, exclusion, deduction, asset, reserve, and other liability items properly attributable to such variable contracts. For such items as are not accounted for directly, separate accounting shall be made
(1) in accordance with the method regularly employed by such company, if such method is reasonable, and
(2) in all other cases, in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary.
(d) Variable contract defined 
For purposes of this part, the term variable contract means a contract
(1) which provides for the allocation of all or part of the amounts received under the contract to an account which, pursuant to State law or regulation, is segregated from the general asset accounts of the company,
(2) which
(A) provides for the payment of annuities,
(B) is a life insurance contract, or
(C) provides for funding of insurance on retired lives as described in section 807 (c)(6), and
(3) under which
(A) in the case of an annuity contract, the amounts paid in, or the amount paid out, reflect the investment return and the market value of the segregated asset account,
(B) in the case of a life insurance contract, the amount of the death benefit (or the period of coverage) is adjusted on the basis of the investment return and the market value of the segregated asset account, or
(C) in the case of funds held under a contract described in paragraph (2)(C), the amounts paid in, or the amounts paid out, reflect the investment return and the market value of the segregated asset account.

If a contract ceases to reflect current investment return and current market value, such contract shall not be considered as meeting the requirements of paragraph (3) after such cessation. Paragraph (3) shall be applied without regard to whether there is a guarantee, and obligations under such guarantee which exceed obligations under the contract without regard to such guarantee shall be accounted for as part of the companys general account.

(e) Pension plan contracts treated as paying annuity 
A pension plan contract which is not a life, accident, or health, property, casualty, or liability insurance contract shall be treated as a contract which provides for the payments of annuities for purposes of subsection (d).
(f) Other special rules 

(1) Life insurance reserves 
For purposes of subsection (b)(1)(A) of section 816, the reflection of the investment return and the market value of the segregated asset account shall be considered an assumed rate of interest.
(2) Additional separate computations 
Under regulations prescribed by the Secretary, such additional separate computations shall be made, with respect to the items separately accounted for in accordance with subsection (c), as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this section and this part.
(g) Variable annuity contracts treated as annuity contracts 
For purposes of this part, the term annuity contract includes a contract which provides for the payment of a variable annuity computed on the basis of
(1) recognized mortality tables, and
(2) 
(A) the investment experience of a segregated asset account, or
(B) the company-wide investment experience of the company.

Paragraph (2)(B) shall not apply to any company which issues contracts which are not variable contracts.

(h) Treatment of certain nondiversified contracts 

(1) In general 
For purposes of subchapter L, section 72 (relating to annuities), and section 7702 (a) (relating to definition of life insurance contract), a variable contract (other than a pension plan contract) which is otherwise described in this section and which is based on a segregated asset account shall not be treated as an annuity, endowment, or life insurance contract for any period (and any subsequent period) for which the investments made by such account are not, in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary, adequately diversified.
(2) Safe harbor for diversification 
A segregated asset account shall be treated as meeting the requirements of paragraph (1) for any quarter of a taxable year if as of the close of such quarter
(A) it meets the requirements of section 851 (b)(3), and
(B) no more than 55 percent of the value of the total assets of the account are assets described in section 851 (b)(3)(A)(i).
(3) Special rule for investments in United States obligations 
To the extent that any segregated asset account with respect to a variable life insurance contract is invested in securities issued by the United States Treasury, the investments made by such account shall be treated as adequately diversified for purposes of paragraph (1).
(4) Look-through in certain cases 
For purposes of this subsection, if all of the beneficial interests in a regulated investment company or in a trust are held by 1 or more
(A) insurance companies (or affiliated companies) in their general account or in segregated asset accounts, or
(B) fund managers (or affiliated companies) in connection with the creation or management of the regulated investment company or trust,

the diversification requirements of paragraph (1) shall be applied by taking into account the assets held by such regulated investment company or trust.

(5) Independent investment advisors permitted 
Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as prohibiting the use of independent investment advisors.
(6) Government securities funds 
In determining whether a segregated asset account is adequately diversified for purposes of paragraph (1), each United States Government agency or instrumentality shall be treated as a separate issuer.

26 USC 817A - Special rules for modified guaranteed contracts

(a) Computation of reserves 
In the case of a modified guaranteed contract, clause (ii) of section 807 (e)(1)(A) shall not apply.
(b) Segregated assets under modified guaranteed contracts marked to market 

(1) In general 
In the case of any life insurance company, for purposes of this subtitle
(A) Any gain or loss with respect to a segregated asset shall be treated as ordinary income or loss, as the case may be.
(B) If any segregated asset is held by such company as of the close of any taxable year
(i) such company shall recognize gain or loss as if such asset were sold for its fair market value on the last business day of such taxable year, and
(ii) any such gain or loss shall be taken into account for such taxable year.

Proper adjustment shall be made in the amount of any gain or loss subsequently realized for gain or loss taken into account under the preceding sentence. The Secretary may provide by regulations for the application of this subparagraph at times other than the times provided in this subparagraph.

(2) Segregated asset 
For purposes of paragraph (1), the term segregated asset means any asset held as part of a segregated account referred to in subsection (d)(1) under a modified guaranteed contract.
(c) Special rule in computing life insurance reserves 
For purposes of applying section 816 (b)(1)(A) to any modified guaranteed contract, an assumed rate of interest shall include a rate of interest determined, from time to time, with reference to a market rate of interest.
(d) Modified guaranteed contract defined 
For purposes of this section, the term modified guaranteed contract means a contract not described in section 817
(1) all or part of the amounts received under which are allocated to an account which, pursuant to State law or regulation, is segregated from the general asset accounts of the company and is valued from time to time with reference to market values,
(2) which
(A) provides for the payment of annuities,
(B) is a life insurance contract, or
(C) is a pension plan contract which is not a life, accident, or health, property, casualty, or liability contract,
(3) for which reserves are valued at market for annual statement purposes, and
(4) which provides for a net surrender value or a policyholders fund (as defined in section 807 (e)(1)).

If only a portion of a contract is not described in section 817, such portion shall be treated for purposes of this section as a separate contract.

(e) Regulations 
The Secretary may prescribe regulations
(1) to provide for the treatment of market value adjustments under sections 72, 7702, 7702A, and 807 (e)(1)(B),
(2) to determine the interest rates applicable under sections 807 (c)(3), 807 (d)(2)(B), and 812 with respect to a modified guaranteed contract annually, in a manner appropriate for modified guaranteed contracts and, to the extent appropriate for such a contract, to modify or waive the applicability of section 811 (d),
(3) to provide rules to limit ordinary gain or loss treatment to assets constituting reserves for modified guaranteed contracts (and not other assets) of the company,
(4) to provide appropriate treatment of transfers of assets to and from the segregated account, and
(5) as may be necessary or appropriate to carry out the purposes of this section.

26 USC 818 - Other definitions and special rules

(a) Pension plan contracts 
For purposes of this part, the term pension plan contract means any contract
(1) entered into with trusts which (as of the time the contracts were entered into) were deemed to be trusts described in section 401 (a) and exempt from tax under section 501 (a) (or trusts exempt from tax under section 165 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1939 or the corresponding provisions of prior revenue laws);
(2) entered into under plans which (as of the time the contracts were entered into) were deemed to be plans described in section 403 (a), or plans meeting the requirements of paragraphs (3), (4), (5), and (6) of section 165(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1939;
(3) provided for employees of the life insurance company under a plan which, for the taxable year, meets the requirements of paragraphs (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8), (11), (12), (13), (14), (15), (16), (17), (19), (20), (22), (26), and (27) of section 401 (a);
(4) purchased to provide retirement annuities for its employees by an organization which (as of the time the contracts were purchased) was an organization described in section 501 (c)(3) which was exempt from tax under section 501 (a) (or was an organization exempt from tax under section 101(6) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1939 or the corresponding provisions of prior revenue laws), or purchased to provide retirement annuities for employees described in section 403 (b)(1)(A)(ii) by an employer which is a State, a political subdivision of a State, or an agency or instrumentality of any one or more of the foregoing;
(5) entered into with trusts which (at the time the contracts were entered into) were individual retirement accounts described in section 408 (a) or under contracts entered into with individual retirement annuities described in section 408 (b); or
(6) purchased by
(A) a governmental plan (within the meaning of section 414 (d)) or an eligible deferred compensation plan (within the meaning of section 457 (b)), or
(B) the Government of the United States, the government of any State or political subdivision thereof, or by any agency or instrumentality of the foregoing, or any organization (other than a governmental unit) exempt from tax under this subtitle, for use in satisfying an obligation of such government, political subdivision, agency or instrumentality, or organization to provide a benefit under a plan described in subparagraph (A).
(b) Treatment of capital gains and losses, etc. 
In the case of a life insurance company
(1) in applying section 1231 (a), the term property used in the trade or business shall be treated as including only
(A) property used in carrying on an insurance business, of a character which is subject to the allowance for depreciation provided in section 167, held for more than 1 year, and real property used in carrying on an insurance business, held for more than 1 year, which is not described in section 1231 (b)(1)(A), (B), or (C), and
(B) property described in section 1231 (b)(2), and
(2) in applying section 1221 (a)(2), the reference to property used in trade or business shall be treated as including only property used in carrying on an insurance business.
(c) Gain on property held on December 31, 1958 and certain substituted property acquired after 1958 

(1) Property held on December 31, 1958 
In the case of property held by the taxpayer on December 31, 1958, if
(A) the fair market value of such property on such date exceeds the adjusted basis for determining gain as of such date, and
(B) the taxpayer has been a life insurance company at all times on and after December 31, 1958,

the gain on the sale or other disposition of such property shall be treated as an amount (not less than zero) equal to the amount by which the gain (determined without regard to this subsection) exceeds the difference between the fair market value on December 31, 1958, and the adjusted basis for determining gain as of such date.

(2) Certain property acquired after December 31, 1958 
In the case of property acquired after December 31, 1958, and having a substituted basis (within the meaning of section 1016 (b))
(A) for purposes of paragraph (1), such property shall be deemed held continuously by the taxpayer since the beginning of the holding period thereof, determined with reference to section 1223,
(B) the fair market value and adjusted basis referred to in paragraph (1) shall be that of that property for which the holding period taken into account includes December 31, 1958,
(C) paragraph (1) shall apply only if the property or properties the holding periods of which are taken into account were held only by life insurance companies after December 31, 1958, during the holding periods so taken into account,
(D) the difference between the fair market value and adjusted basis referred to in paragraph (1) shall be reduced (to not less than zero) by the excess of
(i)  the gain that would have been recognized but for this subsection on all prior sales or dispositions after December 31, 1958, of properties referred to in subparagraph (C), over
(ii)  the gain which was recognized on such sales or other dispositions, and
(E) the basis of such property shall be determined as if the gain which would have been recognized but for this subsection were recognized gain.
(3) Property defined 
For purposes of paragraphs (1) and (2), the term property does not include insurance and annuity contracts and property described in paragraph (1) of section 1221 (a).
(d) Insurance or annuity contract includes contracts supplementary thereto 
For purposes of this part, the term insurance or annuity contract includes any contract supplementary thereto.
(e) Special rules for consolidated returns 

(1) Items of companies other than life insurance companies 
If an election under section 1504 (c)(2) is in effect with respect to an affiliated group for the taxable year, all items of the members of such group which are not life insurance companies shall not be taken into account in determining the amount of the tentative LICTI of members of such group which are life insurance companies.
(2) Dividends within group 
In the case of a life insurance company filing or required to file a consolidated return under section 1501 with respect to any affiliated group for any taxable year, any determination under this part with respect to any dividend paid by one member of such group to another member of such group shall be made as if such group was not filing a consolidated return.
(f) Allocation of certain items for purposes of foreign tax credit, etc. 

(1) In general 
Under regulations, in applying sections 861, 862, and 863 to a life insurance company, the deduction for policyholder dividends (determined under section 808 (c)), reserve adjustments under subsections (a) and (b) of section 807, and death benefits and other amounts described in section 805 (a)(1) shall be treated as items which cannot definitely be allocated to an item or class of gross income.
(2) Election of alternative allocation 

(A) In general 
On or before September 15, 1985, any life insurance company may elect to treat items described in paragraph (1) as properly apportioned or allocated among items of gross income to the extent (and in the manner) prescribed in regulations.
(B) Election irrevocable 
Any election under subparagraph (A), once made, may be revoked only with the consent of the Secretary.
(3) Items described in section 807 (c) treated as not interest for source rules, etc. 
For purposes of part I of subchapter N, items described in any paragraph of section 807 (c) shall be treated as amounts which are not interest.
(g) Qualified accelerated death benefit riders treated as life insurance 
For purposes of this part
(1) In general 
Any reference to a life insurance contract shall be treated as including a reference to a qualified accelerated death benefit rider on such contract.
(2) Qualified accelerated death benefit riders 
For purposes of this subsection, the term qualified accelerated death benefit rider means any rider on a life insurance contract if the only payments under the rider are payments meeting the requirements of section 101 (g).
(3) Exception for long-term care riders 
Paragraph (1) shall not apply to any rider which is treated as a long-term care insurance contract under section 7702B.