General Instructions

Purpose of Form

Use Form 1120-L, U.S. Life Insurance Company Income Tax Return, to report the income, gains, losses, deductions, credits, and to figure the income tax liability of life insurance companies.

Who Must File

Every domestic life insurance company and every foreign corporation that would qualify as a life insurance company if it were a U.S. corporation must file Form 1120-L. This includes organizations described in section 501(m)(1) that provide commercial-type life insurance.

Mutual Savings Banks Conducting Life Insurance Business

Mutual savings banks conducting life insurance business and meeting the requirements of section 594 are subject to an alternative tax consisting of:

  • A partial tax computed on Form 1120, U.S. Corporation Income Tax Return, on the taxable income of the bank excluding the life insurance department, and

  • A partial tax on the taxable income computed on Form 1120-L of the life insurance department.

Enter the combined tax on line 2 of Schedule J, Form 1120. File Form 1120 and attach Form 1120-L as a statement (and identify it as such) or attach a statement showing the computation of the taxable income of the life insurance department (including all relevant information that would be reported on Form 1120-L).

Foreign Life Insurance Companies

A foreign life insurance company that sells a U.S. real property interest must file Form 1120-L and Schedule D (Form 1120) to report the sale. Gain or loss from the sale of a U.S. real property interest is considered effectively connected with the conduct of a U.S. business, even though the foreign life insurance company does not carry on any insurance business in the United States and is not otherwise required to file a U.S. income tax return. See sections 842 and 897, and the instructions for Schedule K, line 8, later.

Other Insurance Companies

Insurance companies, other than life insurance companies, should file Form 1120-PC, U.S. Property and Casualty Insurance Company Income Tax Return. A burial or funeral benefit insurance company that directly manufactures funeral supplies or performs funeral services is taxable under section 831 and should file Form 1120-PC.


An “insurance company” means any corporation if more than half of its business during the tax year is from the issuance of insurance or annuity contracts or the reinsuring of risks underwritten by insurance companies.

A “life insurance company is an insurance company in the business of issuing life insurance and annuity contracts either separately or combined with health and accident insurance, or noncancelable contracts of health and accident insurance that meet the reserves test in section 816(a). Guaranteed renewable life, health, and accident insurance that the corporation cannot cancel but reserves the right to adjust premium rates by classes, according to experience under the kind of policy involved, are treated as noncancelable.

The “reserves test requires that life insurance reserves, as defined in section 816(b), plus unearned premiums and unpaid losses (whether or not ascertained) on noncancelable life, health, or accident policies not included in life insurance reserves must make up more than 50% of total reserves as defined in section 816(c). When determining whether the reserves test has been met:

  1. Life insurance reserves and total reserves must each be reduced by an amount equal to the mean of the aggregates, at the beginning and end of the tax year, of the policy loans outstanding with respect to contracts for which life insurance reserves are maintained;

  2. Amounts set aside and held at interest to satisfy obligations under contracts that do not contain permanent guarantees with respect to life, accident, or health contingencies must not be included in either life insurance reserves (section 816(c)(1)) or other reserves required by law (section 816(c)(3)); and

  3. Deficiency reserves must not be included in either life insurance reserves or total reserves.

Electronic Filing

Corporations can generally electronically file (e-file) Form 7004 (automatic extension of time to file) and Forms 940, 941, and 944 (employment tax returns). If there is a balance due, the corporation can authorize an electronic funds withdrawal while e-filing. Form 1099 and other information returns can also be electronically filed. The option to e-file does not, however, apply to certain returns.

For more information, visit Click on the links for “Self-Employed & Small-Businesses” and “Corporations”.

When To File

Generally, a corporation must file its income tax return by the 15th day of the 3rd month after the end of its tax year. A new corporation filing a short-period return must generally file by the 15th day of the 3rd month after the short period ends. A corporation that has dissolved must generally file by the 15th day of the 3rd month after the date it dissolved.

If the due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the corporation can file on the next business day.

Private Delivery Services

Corporations can use certain private delivery services designated by the IRS to meet the “timely mailing as timely filing” rule for tax returns. These private delivery services include only the following.

  • Federal Express (FedEx): FedEx Priority Overnight, FedEx Standard Overnight, FedEx 2Day, FedEx International Priority, and FedEx International First.

  • United Parcel Service (UPS): UPS Next Day Air, UPS Next Day Air Saver, UPS 2nd Day Air, UPS 2nd Day Air A.M., UPS Worldwide Express Plus, and UPS Worldwide Express.

The private delivery service can tell you how to get written proof of the mailing date.

For the IRS mailing address to use if you are using a private delivery service, go to and enter “private delivery services” in the search box.

Private delivery services cannot deliver items to P.O. boxes. You must use the U.S. Postal Service to mail any item to an IRS P.O. box address.

Extension of Time To File

File Form 7004, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File Certain Business Income Tax, Information, and Other Returns, to request a 6-month extension of time to file. Generally, file Form 7004 by the regular due date of the return. See the Instructions for Form 7004.

Where To File

File the corporation's return at the applicable IRS address listed below.

If the corporation's principal business, office, or agency is located in: And the total assets at the end of the tax year (Form 1120-L, Schedule L, Part I, line 6, column (b)) are: Use the following address:
Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin Less than $10 million and Schedule M-3 is not filed Department of the Treasury 
Internal Revenue Service Center 
Cincinnati, OH 45999-0012
$10 million or more or less than $10 million and Schedule M-3 is filed Department of the Treasury 
Internal Revenue Service Center 
Ogden, UT 84201-0012
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wyoming Any amount Department of the Treasury 
Internal Revenue Service Center 
Ogden, UT 84201-0012
A foreign country or U.S. possession Any amount Internal Revenue Service Center 
P.O. Box 409101 
Ogden, UT 84409

A group of corporations with members located in more than one service center area will often keep all the books and records at the principal office of the managing corporation. In this case, the tax returns of the corporations may be filed with the service center for the area in which the principal office of the managing corporation is located.

Who Must Sign

The return must be signed and dated by:

  • The president, vice-president, treasurer, assistant treasurer, chief accounting officer; or

  • Any other corporate officer (such as tax officer) authorized to sign.

If a return is filed on behalf of a corporation by a receiver, trustee, or assignee, the fiduciary must sign the return, instead of the corporate officer. Returns and forms signed by a receiver or trustee in bankruptcy on behalf of a corporation must be accompanied by a copy of the order or instructions of the court authorizing signing of the return or form.

If an employee of the corporation completes Form 1120-L, the paid preparer space should remain blank. Anyone who prepares Form 1120-L but does not charge the corporation should not complete that section. Generally, anyone who is paid to prepare the return must sign it and fill in the “Paid Preparer Use Only” area.

The paid preparer must complete the required preparer information and:

  • Sign the return in the space provided for the preparer's signature.

  • Give a copy of the return to the taxpayer.


A paid preparer may sign original or amended returns by rubber stamp, mechanical device, or computer software program.

Paid Preparer Authorization

If the corporation wants to allow the IRS to discuss its 2014 tax return with the paid preparer who signed it, check the “Yes” box in the signature area of the return. This authorization applies only to the individual whose signature appears in the “Paid Preparer Use Only” section of the return. It does not apply to the firm, if any, shown in that section.

If the “Yes” box is checked, the corporation is authorizing the IRS to call the paid preparer to answer any questions that may arise during the processing of its return. The corporation is also authorizing the paid preparer to:

  • Give the IRS any information that is missing from the return,

  • Call the IRS for information about the processing of the return or the status of any related refund or payment(s), and

  • Respond to certain IRS notices about math errors, offsets, and return preparation.

The corporation is not authorizing the paid preparer to receive any refund check, bind the corporation to anything (including any additional tax liability), or otherwise represent the corporation before the IRS.

The authorization will automatically end no later than the due date (excluding extensions) for filing the corporation's 2015 tax return. If the corporation wants to expand the paid preparer's authorization or revoke the authorization before it ends, see Pub. 947, Practice Before the IRS and Power of Attorney.


Annual Statement.   In general, every domestic or foreign life insurance company must attach a copy of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) annual statement filed with the state of domicile and used as the basis for computing taxable income. If a different annual statement was used as the basis for computing taxable income, attach that annual statement to Form 1120-L. However, see Electronic filing, next.

Electronic filing.

If a domestic or foreign life insurance company files the Form 1120-L electronically, do not attach the annual statement or pro forma annual statement to the electronically filed return. However, you must provide a copy of the annual statement or pro forma annual statement to the IRS if requested and retain it with your other tax records for the period required by the regulations.


Corporations that do not file Schedule M-3 (Form 1120-L) with Form 1120-L must attach a statement that reconciles Form 1120-L with the annual statement used as the basis for computing taxable income reported on Form 1120-L. Also, see the Note under the instructions for Schedule F for additional required reconciliations.

Assembling the Return

To ensure that the corporation's tax return is correctly processed, attach all schedules and other forms after page 8 of Form 1120-L in the following order.

  1. Schedule N (Form 1120), Foreign Operations of U.S. Corporations.

  2. Schedule D (Form 1120), Capital Gains and Losses.

  3. Schedule O (Form 1120), Consent Plan and Apportionment Schedule for a Controlled Group.

  4. Form 4626, Alternative Minimum Tax—Corporations.

  5. Form 8302, Electronic Deposit of Tax Refund of $1 Million or More.

  6. Form 4136, Credit for Federal Tax Paid on Fuels.

  7. Form 8941, Credit for Small Employer Health Insurance Premiums.

  8. Form 851, Affiliations Schedule.

  9. Additional schedules in alphabetical order.

  10. Additional forms in numerical order.

  11. Supporting statements and attachments.

Complete every applicable entry space on Form 1120-L. Do not enter “See Attached” or “Available Upon Request” instead of completing the entry spaces. If more space is needed on the forms or schedules, attach separate sheets using the same size and format as on the printed forms. If there are supporting statements and attachments, arrange them in the same order as the schedules or forms they support and attach them last. Show the totals on the printed forms. Enter the corporation's name and EIN on each supporting statement or attachment.

Tax Payments

Generally, the corporation must pay any tax due in full no later than the 15th day of the 3rd month after the end of the tax year. See the instructions for line 31.

Electronic Deposit Requirement

Corporations must use electronic funds transfer to make all federal tax deposits (such as deposits of employment, excise, and corporate income tax). Generally, electronic funds transfers are made using the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS).

If the corporation does not want to use EFTPS, it can arrange for its tax professional, financial institution, payroll service, or other trusted third party to make deposits on its behalf. Also, it can arrange for its financial institution to submit a same-day payment (discussed later) on its behalf. EFTPS is a free service provided by the Department of the Treasury. Services provided by a tax professional, financial institution, payroll service, or other third party may have a fee.

To get more information about EFTPS or to enroll in EFTPS, visit, or call 1-800-555-4477, (TTY/TDD 1-800-733-4829).

Depositing on time.   To make your EFTPS deposits on time, the corporation must submit the transaction by 8 p.m. Eastern time the day before the date the deposit is due. If the corporation uses a third party to make deposits on its behalf, they may have different cutoff times.

Same-day wire payment option.    If the corporation fails to submit a deposit transaction on EFTPS by 8 p.m. Eastern time the day before the date a deposit is due, it can still make the deposit on time by using the Federal Tax Collection Service (FTCS). Before using the same-day wire payment option, the corporation will need to make arrangements with its financial institution ahead of time regarding availability, deadlines, and costs. Financial institutions may charge a fee for payments made this way. To learn more about making a same-day wire payment, visit and click on “Same-Day Wire Federal Tax Payments.

Estimated Tax Payments

Generally, the following rules apply to the corporation's payments of estimated tax.

  • The corporation must make installment payments of estimated tax if it expects its total tax for the year (less applicable credits) to be $500 or more.

  • The installments are due by the 15th day of the 4th, 6th, 9th, and 12th months of the tax year. If any date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the installment is due on the next regular business day.

  • The corporation must use electronic funds transfer to make installment payments of estimated tax.

  • Use Form 1120-W, Estimated Tax for Corporations, as a worksheet to compute estimated tax. See the Instructions for Form 1120-W.

  • Penalties may apply if the corporation does not make required estimated tax payment deposits. See Estimated tax penalty, below.

  • If the corporation overpaid estimated tax, it may be able to get a quick refund by filing Form 4466, Corporation Application for Quick Refund of Overpayment of Estimated Tax.

    See the instructions for line 29c and line 29e, later.

Estimated tax penalty.   A corporation that does not make estimated tax payments when due may be subject to an underpayment penalty for the period of underpayment. Generally, a corporation is subject to the penalty if its tax liability is $500 or more and it did not timely pay at least the smaller of:
  • Its tax liability for the current year, or

  • Its prior year's tax.

  See section 6655 for details and exceptions, including special rules for large corporations.

  Use Form 2220, Underpayment of Estimated Tax by Corporations, to see if the corporation owes a penalty and to figure the amount of the penalty. If Form 2220 is completed, enter the penalty on line 30. See the instructions for line 30, later.

Interest and Penalties

If the corporation receives a notice about penalties after it files its return, send the IRS an explanation and we will determine if the corporation meets reasonable-cause criteria. Do not attach an explanation when the corporation's return is filed.

Interest.   Interest is charged on taxes paid late even if an extension of time to file is granted. Interest is also charged on penalties imposed for failure to file, negligence, fraud, substantial valuation misstatements, substantial understatements of tax, and reportable transaction understatements from the due date (including extensions) to the date of payment. The interest charge is figured at a rate determined under section 6621.

Late filing of return.   A corporation that does not file its tax return by the due date, including extensions, may be penalized 5% of the unpaid tax for each month or part of a month the return is late, up to a maximum of 25% of the unpaid tax. The minimum penalty for a return that is over 60 days late is the smaller of the tax due or $135. The penalty will not be imposed if the corporation can show that the failure to file on time was due to reasonable cause. See Caution, earlier.

Late payment of tax.   A corporation that does not pay the tax when due generally may be penalized ½ of 1% of the unpaid tax for each month or part of a month the tax is not paid, up to a maximum of 25% of the unpaid tax. See Caution, earlier.

Trust fund recovery penalty.   This penalty may apply if certain excise, income, social security, and Medicare taxes that must be collected or withheld are not collected or withheld, or these taxes are not paid. These taxes are generally reported on:
  • Form 720, Quarterly Federal Excise Tax Return;

  • Form 941, Employer's QUARTERLY Federal Tax Return;

  • Form 944, Employer's ANNUAL Federal Tax Return; or

  • Form 945, Annual Return of Withheld Federal Income Tax.

  The trust fund recovery penalty may be imposed on all persons who are determined by the IRS to be responsible for collecting, accounting for, and paying over these taxes, and who acted willfully in not doing so. The penalty is equal to the full amount of the unpaid trust fund tax. See the Instructions for Form 720, Pub. 15 (Circular E), Employer's Tax Guide, for details, including the definition of responsible persons.

Other penalties.   Other penalties can be imposed for negligence, substantial understatement of tax, reportable transaction understatements, and fraud. See sections 6662, 6662A, and 6663.

Accounting Methods

The return of a life insurance company must be filed using the accrual method of accounting or, to the extent permitted under regulations, a combination of the accrual method with any other method, except the cash receipts and disbursements method. In all cases, the method used must clearly show life insurance company taxable income (LICTI).

Change in accounting method.   Generally, the corporation must get IRS consent to change the method of accounting used to report taxable income (for income as a whole or for the treatment of any material item). To do so, the corporation generally must file Form 3115, Application for Change in Accounting Method. For more information, see the Instructions for Form 3115, and Pub. 538, Accounting Periods and Methods.

  There are some instances when the corporation can obtain automatic consent from the IRS to change to certain accounting methods. See Rev. Proc. 2011-14, 2011-4 I.R.B. 330, as modified and clarified by Rev. Proc. 2014-16, 2014-9 I.R.B. 606; Rev. Proc. 2014-17, 2014-12 I.R.B. 661; and Rev. Proc. 2014-54, 2014-41 I.R.B. 675, or any successor. Also, see the Instructions for Form 3115.

Accounting Period

An insurance company must figure its taxable income on the basis of a tax year. A tax year is the annual accounting period an insurance company uses to keep its records and report its income and expenses.

As a general rule under section 843, the tax year for every insurance company is the calendar year. However, if an insurance company joins in the filing of a consolidated return, it may adopt the tax year of the common parent corporation even if that year is not a calendar year.

Rounding Off to Whole Dollars

The corporation can round off cents to whole dollars on its return and schedules. If the corporation does round to whole dollars, it must round all amounts. To round, drop amounts under 50 cents and increase amounts from 50 to 99 cents to the next dollar. For example, $1.39 becomes $1 and $2.50 becomes $3.

If two or more amounts must be added to figure the amount to enter on a line, include cents when adding the amounts and round off only the total.


Keep the corporation's records for as long as they may be needed for the administration of any provision of the Internal Revenue Code. Usually, records that support an item of income, deduction, or credit on the return must be kept for 3 years from the date the return is due or filed, whichever is later. Keep records that verify the corporation's basis in property for as long as they are needed to figure the basis of the original or replacement property.

The corporation should keep copies of all filed returns. They help in preparing future and amended returns and in the calculation of earnings and profits.

Other Forms and Statements That May Be Required

Reportable transaction disclosure statement.   Disclose information for each reportable transaction in which the corporation participated. Form 8886, Reportable Transaction Disclosure Statement, must be filed for each tax year that the federal income tax liability of the corporation is affected by its participation in the transaction. The following are reportable transactions.
  1. Any listed transaction, which is a transaction that is the same as or substantially similar to one of the types of transactions that the IRS has determined to be a tax avoidance transaction and identified by notice, regulation, or other published guidance as a listed transaction.

  2. Any transaction offered under conditions of confidentiality for which the corporation (or a related party) paid an advisor a fee of at least $250,000.

  3. Certain transactions for which the corporation (or a related party) has contractual protection against disallowance of the tax benefits.

  4. Certain transactions resulting in a loss of at least $10 million in any single year or $20 million in any combination of years.

  5. Any transaction identified by the IRS by notice, regulation, or other published guidance as a “transaction of interest.

  For more information, see Regulations section 1.6011-4. Also see the Instructions for Form 8886.


The corporation may have to pay a penalty if it is required to disclose a reportable transaction under section 6011 and fails to properly complete and file Form 8886. Penalties also apply under section 6707A if the corporation fails to file Form 8886 with its corporate return, fails to provide a copy of Form 8886 to the Office of Tax Shelter Analysis (OTSA), or files a form that fails to include all the information required (or includes incorrect information). Other penalties, such as an accuracy-related penalty under section 6662A, may also apply. See the Instructions for Form 8886 for details on these and other penalties.

Reportable transactions by material advisors.   Material advisors to any reportable transaction must disclose certain information about the reportable transaction by filing Form 8918, Material Advisor Disclosure Statement, with the IRS. See the Instructions for Form 8918.

Transfers to a corporation controlled by the transferor.   Every significant transferor (as defined in Regulations section 1.351-3(d)) that receives stock of a corporation in exchange for property in a nonrecognition event must include the statement required by Regulations section 1.351-3(a) on or with the transferor's tax return for the tax year of the exchange. The transferee corporation must include the statement required by Regulations section 1.351-3(b) on or with its return for the tax year of the exchange, unless all the required information is included in any statement(s) provided by a significant transferor that is attached to the same return for the same section 351 exchange. If the transferor or transferee corporation is a controlled foreign corporation, each U.S. shareholder (within the meaning of section 951(b)) must include the required statement on or with its return.

Distributions under section 355.   Every corporation that makes a distribution of stock or securities of a controlled corporation, as described in section 355 (or so much of section 356 as it relates to section 355), must include the statement required by Regulations section 1.355-5(a) on or with its return for the year of the distribution. A significant distributee (as defined in Regulations section 1.355-5(c)) that receives stock or securities of a controlled corporation must include the statement required by Regulations section 1.355-5(b) on or with its return for the year of receipt. If the distributing or distributee corporation is a controlled foreign corporation, each U.S. shareholder (within the meaning of section 951(b)) must include the statement on or with its return.

Dual consolidated losses.   If a domestic corporation incurs a dual consolidated loss (as defined in Regulations section 1.1503-2(c)(5)), the corporation (or consolidated group) may need to attach an elective relief agreement and/or an annual certification as provided in Regulations section 1.1503-2(g)(2).

Election to reduce basis under section 362(e)(2)(C).   If property is transferred to a corporation subject to section 362(e)(2), the transferor and the acquiring corporation may elect, under section 362(e)(2)(C), to reduce the transferor's basis in the stock received instead of reducing the acquiring corporation's basis in the property transferred. Once made, the election is irrevocable. For more information see section 362(e)(2) and Regulations section 1.362-4. If an election is made, a statement must be filed in accordance with Regulations section 1.362-4(d)(3).

Annual information statement for elections under section 108(i).   If the corporation made an election in 2009 or 2010 to defer income from cancellation of debt (COD) in connection with the reacquisition of an applicable debt instrument, the corporation must attach a statement to its return beginning with the tax year following the tax year for which the corporation made the election, and ending the first tax year all income deferred has been included in income. The statement must be labeled "Section 108(i) Information Statement" and must clearly identify, for each applicable debt instrument to which an election under section 108(i) applies, any deferred:
  • COD income that is included in income in the current tax year.

  • COD income that has been accelerated because of an event described in section 108(i)(5)(D) and must be included in income in the current tax year. Include a description and the date of the acceleration event.

  • COD income that has not been included in income in the current or prior tax years.

  • OID deduction allowed as a deduction in the current tax year.

  • OID deduction that is allowed as a deduction in the current tax year because of an accelerated event described in section 108(i)(5)(D).

  • OID deduction that has not been deducted in the current or prior tax years.

  In addition, the corporation must annually include a copy of the election statement it filed to make the election to defer the income. For more information regarding the annual information statement, see Rev. Proc. 2009-37, 2009-36 I.R.B. 309. For additional information on deferring COD income, see the instructions for Line 7. Other income, later.

Other forms and statements.   See Pub. 542, Corporations, for a list of other forms and statements a corporation may need to file in addition to the forms and statements discussed throughout these instructions.

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