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Do You Know the Difference Between Taxable and Nontaxable Income?

Do You Know the Difference Between Taxable and Nontaxable Income?

June 12, 2023

All income you receive is taxable unless the rules explicitly state it isn’t. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), taxable income includes earned income like wages and any income earned by providing a service or the exchange of property or services. Rental income, interest, dividends, and social security benefits are all examples of taxable unearned income.

Some income is only taxable if certain conditions are met. For example, life insurance proceeds are usually not taxable to the beneficiary unless you redeem a life insurance policy for cash. Any amount you receive above the cost of the policy is taxable. State and local income tax refunds may be taxable and should be reported on your federal taxes.

Some forms of income are usually not taxable, like:

  • Gifts and inheritances. (State taxes may apply to inheritances.)
  • Welfare benefits.
  • Damage awards for physical injury or sickness.
  • Cash rebates from a dealer or manufacturer for an item you buy.
  • Reimbursements for qualified adoption expenses.

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.