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Renewal Commissions of Life Insurance Salespersons

Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at

1310. Renewal Commissions of Life Insurance Salespersons

1310.1 Do life insurance renewal commissions count as wages?

Your renewal commission as a life insurance salesperson is wages when paid if, at the time the policy was written, you are:

  1. An employee under the common-law test (see §802); or

  2. A full-time life insurance salesperson. (See §828.)

1310.2 Does employment status matter?

It does not matter whether you are an employee or self-employed at the time of payment. It also does not matter if you are required to perform any services in connection with the sale of the policy. Your status at the time the original sale was made determines if renewal commissions are wages, even if you are retired or have ended the employment relationship. Generally, renewal commissions are considered earned at the same time the original commission was earned if you were an employee at the time the policy was written.

Last Revised: March, 2001

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