Are Benefits From a Long-Term Care Insurance Policy Taxable?

Usually, the benefits from a Long-Term Care Insurance policy are tax-free, and, in some cases, premiums can be tax-deductible. All tax-qualified Long-Term Care Insurance benefits will come to you tax-free in most cases. The insurance companies that pay these benefits are required by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to provide claimants with a FORM 1099-LTC. This form is used to report to the IRS the payments made by Long-Term Care Insurance policies, hybrid policies, and life insurance with an accelerated death benefit for long-term care services. The insurance companies typically will issue these special 1099 forms in January for the previous tax year.

All payments which were made directly to you, as well as those that were paid to a third party on your behalf, will be reflected on Form 1099-LTC. You should not be concerned when you, or a family member, receive this IRS form. While the amounts can be very high ($100,000 or more in some cases), it does not mean you owe taxes on these amounts.

Generally, there are no tax implications from their long-term care benefit; however, the 1099 forms are required simply to show the IRS you received tax-free benefits from your tax-qualified Long-Term Care Insurance policy. 

Preparing Your Taxes

You can request free tax forms and guides by calling the IRS at 1-800-TAX-Form or 1-800-829-3676. If you prepare your own taxes, make sure you order or download the Instructions for Form 1099-LTC from the Internal Revenue Service. Otherwise, your tax preparer should have access to this form.

This form will look similar to this:

IRS Form 1099-LTC

Be sure to speak with your tax advisor. Below is a simple reference of the meaning of numbers reported in each box on the 1099 LTC.

Box 1. Gross benefits paid by the insurance company.

Box 2. Does not apply to long-term care insurance.

Box 3. This indicates benefits paid (as reflected in Box 1) as either on a Per Diem (Indemnity) basis or as a Reimbursement for actual long-term care expenses incurred.

Box 4: This is an optional field that indicates if benefits were paid from a Tax Qualified long-term care insurance contract.

Box 5: The Chronically Ill box will always be checked for LTC. The Terminally Ill box is not applicable to long-term care

PAYER'S NAME: The name of the insurance company and its address.

OMB No.: The tax year for which amounts are reported.

PAYER'S FEDERAL IDENTIFICATION NUMBER: The federal tax identification number for the insurance company that paid the benefit amounts.

POLICYHOLDER'S IDENTIFICATION: The policyholder's identification number, which should be the same as what is in box 10, the insured's Social Security number.

INSURED'S SOCIAL SECURITY: The Social Security number, name and address for the insured who was the recipient of benefits.

Account Number: The actual claim number. This box may also contain the Total Number of Days paid if the policy is an Indemnity (per diem paid) policy.

Date Certified: If the policy uses a Reimbursement formula, this box will show the date certified as Chronically Ill. If the policy uses a Per Diem (indemnity) formula, it will show the claim's original date of loss.

Additional Explanations Regarding Box 3

1. If Box 3 is marked "Reimbursed Amount" and the policy is categorized as a Tax-Qualified Contract, then the amount of money received can generally be excluded from the income being reported. The insurance company can tell you if your policy is considered a Tax-Qualified policy.

A tax-qualified Long-Term Care Insurance contract qualifies for favorable federal income tax treatment. If the policy only pays benefits that reimburse you for qualified long-term care expenses you will not owe federal income tax on these benefits.

2. If Box 3 is marked "Reimbursed Amount" and you have a Non-Tax Qualified Contract, then some or all of your benefits may be taxable. Again, the insurance company can tell you if your policy is considered a Non-Tax Qualified policy.

A Non-Tax Qualified policy may result in a tax liability. You should consult a tax-advisor. Today, most long-term care policies are tax-qualified.

3. If Box 3 is marked "Per Diem" (which will happen for policies that are considered Indemnity policies) then the amount you may exclude from taxable income being reported is limited.

Because benefits were paid on a per diem (indemnity) basis, without regard to the actual long-term care expenses incurred, the amount of benefits that may be excluded from income is subject to a daily maximum amount.

If this per diem (indemnity) limitation is exceeded, part of the benefits received may be taxable. The amount of the limitation increases every year. If you have that type of policy be sure to consult with your tax advisor.

Non-Tax-Qualified LTC Insurance

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 set rules about the taxation of Long-Term Care Insurance policies. The Internal Revenue Code Section 7702B, added by the 1996 tax legislation, spells out the requirements that a Long-Term Care Insurance policy must meet to be considered a "Qualified" policy.

Today, most policies are 'tax-qualified, which affects potential tax deductibility and the tax status of benefit received. However, there are still non-qualified plans in existence. 

Benefits received on or after January 1, 1997, on any non-qualified plan will not be considered 'taxable' as long as you have expenses incurred for long-term health care services. 

If you have a non-qualified policy, be sure to seek the advice of a qualified tax professional before filing the tax return.

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