Taxation Section Update:
Tracking the New Tax Laws

A look at the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017 Tony R. Litterer

The primary purpose of the Society of Actuaries (SOA) Taxation Section is to promote and share knowledge of tax laws, regulations and procedures affecting life insurance products (policyholders) and life insurance companies.

At the start of the fourth quarter of 2017, the questions on many minds were: How would principle-based reserves (PBR) affect federal income tax? Would the net premium reserve be entirely deductible from revenue? What about the excess of the deterministic or stochastic reserves?

Near the end of the quarter, the answers came in the form of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA). Signed by President Trump on Dec. 22, 2017, this piece of legislation not only addressed some of the tax questions surrounding PBR, but it also changed how both the industry and individuals view the federal taxation of income.

During the 2018 calendar year, the Taxation Section addressed the TCJA through numerous sessions at industry meetings and by way of SOA webinars. The first webinar on TCJA, held in March, drew more than 5,000 attendees and was one of the most attended webinars in SOA history. The feedback from the webinar was positive, and the section quickly followed with another TCJA webinar in May that was more focused on tax reserves. A third webinar, co-sponsored with the SOA Small Company Section, provided information on TCJA and how tax reform affects smaller companies.

In September, the Product Tax Seminar and Boot Camp was held in Washington, D.C. This seminar is held every other year and provides a unique opportunity for company and consulting actuaries to discuss tax issues with representatives employed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Treasury.

The annual fee to become a Taxation Section member is only $20. As a member of the Taxation Section, you will receive a copy of the section’s newsletter, Taxing Times. You will also be able to:

  • Participate in monthly council meetings where we discuss tax changes, regulations and rulings, and plan for future events as a “friend” of the council.
  • Network with SOA staff and industry professionals who work in a variety of business settings. Actuaries, accountants and attorneys play an important role in the section.
  • Author an article for the section’s publication, Taxing Times, which is published three times a year.
  • Broaden your understanding in a different practice area. How are insurance benefits and annuity proceeds taxed? How has the TCJA affected offshore reinsurance transactions?
  • Take on a leadership role within the section, where you will be given opportunities to attend SOA-sponsored events, network with other section leaders and go to leadership training seminars.

There is no doubt that Congress will enact technical corrections to the TCJA. There will be regulations and rulings that clarify the provisions of TCJA and other issues. Eventually, tax reform will happen again. The Taxation Section will continue to be a source of information and interpretation for insurance professionals. Please consider joining us.

Tony R. Litterer, FSA, MAAA, FLMI, is an actuary at Fidelity & Guaranty Life Insurance Company.

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