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Highlights

GAO examined the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code under which life insurance companies are taxed to determine whether the provisions, which were enacted in 1959 and have not been reviewed since, were in need of revision.

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Recommendations

Matter for Congressional Consideration

Matter Status Comments
Congress should consider selecting as an alternative to replacing the 10 to 1 rule for adjusting reserves one of the following: (1) substituting the interest based on assumed rates for the 10 to 1 adjustment, the free interest method; (2) replacing the 10 to 1 rule with a reserve deduction based on a geometric approximation that provides a larger reserve deduction in the current economic environment; or (3) substituting a 4.5 percent maximum for the average earnings rate with either the 10 to 1 reserve adjustment or with the geometric reserve adjustment.
Closed - Implemented
Congress adopted an entirely new approach to the taxation of insurance companies which does not accept the framework of the 1959 act implicit in the recommendation.
Congress should amend sections 802(b) and 815(c)(2)(A) of the Life Insurance Company Income Tax Act of 1959 to reflect the current condition of the life insurance industry. There should be no automatic deferral of half the excess of gain from operations over taxable investment income for all life insurance companies. However, eliminating this deferral should be gradual and indexed according to the age of the individual company.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Congress should amend the legislation to allow only $15 per thousand dollars of the amount at risk in revaluing reserves for permanent insurance plans.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
When considering the issue of deferred annuities, Congress should decide the issue of taxation at the corporate or individual level.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Congress should amend the language of section 801(a) of the Life Insurance Company Income Tax Act of 1959 to define a life insurance company.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Congress should consider amending section 801(b) of the Life Insurance Company Income Tax Act of 1959 which defines life insurance reserves.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Congress should consider amending section 804(c)(1) of the Life Insurance Company Income Tax Act of 1959 to provide a specific definition of investment expenses.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Congress should amend section 805(b)(4) of the Life Insurance Company Income Tax Act of 1959 to clarify the definition of assets.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Congress should determine the extent of any abuses of reinsurance and examine section 820 of the Life Insurance Company Income Tax Act of 1959 as it refers to modified coinsurance in any evaluation of the Act.
Closed - Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

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