Couple checking if their life insurance is taxable on their laptop

Is Your Life Insurance Taxable in Canada?

Published September 8, 2023

Life insurance provides financial protection to your loved ones in the event of your passing. It's an essential tool to secure your family's future and provide them with the necessary funds to cover expenses, such as mortgages, debts, and daily living costs. But is life insurance taxable in Canada?

In this article we'll be answering this question for you. Let's dive into this topic and explore how life insurance is treated under Canadian tax laws.

Couple managing their taxes

Understanding the Tax Status of Life Insurance Benefits

In Canada, the general rule is that the death benefit paid out by a life insurance policy is tax-free. This means that the money received by the beneficiaries is not subject to income tax. Whether it's a term life insurance policy or a permanent life insurance policy, the death benefit remains tax-free.

This tax-exempt status applies to both individual life insurance policies and group life insurance policies (employer-provided life insurance).


Exceptions to Tax-Free Life Insurance Benefits

While your death benefit will generally be tax-free, there are some exceptions and considerations that you should be aware of. Let's explore these scenarios:

  1. Estate Tax: If you name your estate as the beneficiary of the life insurance policy, the death benefit becomes part of your estate for tax purposes. In this case, the money received may be subject to estate taxes, depending on the size of your estate.
  2. Accrued Investment Income: If your life insurance policy has an investment component, such as a cash value or an investment-linked policy, any accrued investment income may be subject to taxation. However, the death benefit portion of the policy remains tax-free.
  3. Policy Assignment: If you assign your life insurance policy to another person or entity, any proceeds received may be subject to taxation. It's important to consult with a tax professional to understand the tax implications of policy assignments.
  4. Non-Qualified Plans: Certain life insurance policies, known as non-qualified plans, are subject to specific tax rules. These policies are typically designed for high-net-worth individuals and have unique taxation provisions. If you own a non-qualified life insurance policy, it's crucial to consult with a tax advisor to understand the tax implications.

Couple happy that their life insurance isn't taxable

Other Considerations for Life Insurance and Taxes

We covered the exceptional cases in which your life insurance may be subject to taxation. With that said, there are still a few things you should know about indirect forms of taxation:

1. Income Replacement:

If you purchase a life insurance policy to replace your income in the event of your passing, the beneficiaries' use of the death benefit may be subject to income tax. For example, if the beneficiaries invest the money and earn income from those investments, they may need to report that income and pay taxes on it. Consulting with a financial advisor can help you plan for income tax considerations.

2. Capital Gains Tax:

If you have an investment-linked life insurance policy and the investments within the policy generate capital gains, those gains may be subject to capital gains tax. However, keep in mind that the death benefit portion of the policy remains tax-free.

Seek Professional Advice

It's essential to consult with a tax professional or a financial advisor who specializes in life insurance and taxation to understand your specific situation. They can provide guidance tailored to your needs and help you navigate through the complexities of taxation.

Life insurance can play a vital role in your financial plan, and understanding the tax implications ensures that you are making informed decisions to protect your loved ones.

Woman calculating her taxes


So, is life insurance taxable in Canada? In Canada, life insurance benefits are generally tax-free. The death benefit received by the beneficiaries is not subject to income tax, making life insurance an attractive tool to secure your family's financial future.

However, there are exceptions and special circumstances where tax implications may arise. It's important to seek professional advice to understand the specific tax rules that apply to your life insurance policy.

Remember, life insurance provides financial protection, peace of mind, and a legacy for your loved ones. By comprehending the tax aspects, you can maximize the benefits of life insurance while planning for your family's future.


Choose Your Financial Security

If you're considering life insurance or have any questions about your existing policy, Insurance Supermarket is here to help. Our team of experienced advisors can guide you through the process, ensuring that you find the right policy that meets your unique needs.

Contact us today to secure your future and protect your loved ones! Get a quote by clicking the button below!

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