Annuities

Tax Deferred Annuity

A tax deferred annuity is a plan in which income tax on an original deposit of invested income is not charged during the investment period. The tax liability is deferred until the owner or beneficiary begins to receive (or accesses funds) periodic payments of earnings from the invested funds. This benefit is known as tax deferral or deferred annuity.

Tax Sheltered Annuities

One of the most attractive features of a tax sheltered annuity is a tax advantage known as a deferral. Tax deferral is allowed as long as the funds in the annuity are kept intact and not touched by the sheltered annuity owner. The interest or earnings credited to the annuity grow and accumulate, tax deferred, sheltered until the funds in the annuity are accessed, either by the sheltered annuity owner or their designated beneficiary. The accumulated funds in the annuity can then be accessed as needed as a pension or supplemental income for the owner or beneficiaries’ income needs.

The original deposits or the last funds to be removed from an annuity are never taxed, as the liability is only assessed on the accumulated tax deferred portion. Tools can assist the owner in managing the future tax liability of a deferred annuity, and using these tools, the annuity owner can shelter tax liability and use the future accumulated value as an income option. If the funds are merely removed, the full tax liability of the funds is due.

A partial removal of the tax deferred results in appropriate tax liabilities on the amount removed. But when the sheltered annuity owner uses the funds in a tax deferred annuity as income with a fixed payment option, the tax liability can be managed and spread over a time period chosen by the sheltered annuity owner.

Income Tax on Annuities

This method of spreading the sheltered liability over a chosen time period is known as the exclusion ratio, or income option, and allows the annuity owner control over the sheltered liability. The actual amount of taxable income and tax free income (the refund of original deposit) is calculated by the insurance company when the annuity owner initiates a fixed payment period option. The amount of sheltered tax liability varies, based on the amount of the original deposit, the accumulated earnings and the income option selected by the annuity owner.

In the event an annuity is inherited by a beneficiary, the full sheltered liability of the accumulated interest in a tax sheltered or deferred annuity passes to the beneficiary. If the funds are removed in a lump sum, 100% of the sheltered liability is realized, but the IRS allows for a delay of up to five years in the beneficiaries receipt of income from the sheltered annuity, which allows for tax planning fitting the beneficiaries specific needs and situation.

Guaranteed Annuities Provide Safety and Security

An annuity is a contract sold by insurance companies designed to provide variable payments to the holder at designated time periods usually for retirement. The annuity owner holder is taxed only when funds are removed from the guaranteed fixed annuity. This accumulation benefit is also known as tax deferred or tax sheltered.

The attractiveness of a fixed annuity may be the guarantees the contractual benefits it provides. These guarantees are both in minimum guaranteed yield, guarantee of funds on deposit and guarantees of future fixed income retirement options.

Annuities are guaranteed by the insurance company issuing the annuity and are highly variable by each individual State Department of Insurance. In addition to regulating insurance companies, the state of residence of the annuity owner also provides an overall financial guarantee. These guarantees are variable from state to state with ranges from $100,000 to $500,000 per annuity owner and will provide protection to the annuity owner should an insurance company become insolvent.

Guaranteed Minimum Yield:

The actual amount of guaranteed yield state to state is variable, but a reasonable interest rate to consider is 3%. Many states allow for lesser and greater rates of returns to be the underlying guarantee. This annuity guarantee provides a fixed guaranteed minimum the annuity owner will always know what the variable earned on the contract.

Guarantee of Income Deposits:

All fixed (or indexed) annuities provide this guarantee, 100% guarantee of funds deposited. Your funds in a guarantee annuity are fully protected against loss of your original deposit regardless of any outside condition.

Guarantee of Settlement Or Income Options:

Your right to remove your annuity funds in a pre-set formula as income is contractually guaranteed. These settlement options can include you, your spouse and your heirs and can be customized to fit almost any situation with lifetime income options. These options can often also include a guaranteed rate of yield in the calculation of the income benefit. Most contracts have dozens of available options for settlement.

Underlying Income Guarantee:

The best guarantee for annuities is the underlying guarantee sponsored by the state of residence of the annuity owner. These guarantees known as State Guarantee Fund sets aside funds to assure the consumer the insurance company is solvent and that their funds are protected. The amount of guarantees offered to the annuity owner will are variable from state to state but often they are variable of $100,000 to $500,000 per annuity contract. Contact your state department of insurance for specifics of state guarantees on fixed income.

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Bill Broich is a well-known annuity expert with over 30 years of experience. He has written hundreds of articles on annuities and other financial topics, and has been a featured commentator on TV, Radio and the Internet. To follow Bill's profile, click here.