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Guideline Premium and Corridor Test (GPT)


The Guideline Premium and Corridor Test (GPT) is a standard used in insurance to determine whether a life insurance contract qualifies as a life insurance under section 7702 of the Internal Revenue Code. This test consists of two parts: a guideline single premium which limits the total amount of premiums paid, and a corridor factor which requires a minimum amount of insurance for the coverage. If an insurance contract passes the GPT, then its death benefits and interest will be tax-free.


“Guideline Premium and Corridor Test (GPT)” in phonetics would be:”Gahyd-line Pree-mee-uhm aend Ko-ri-dor Test (Gee Pee Tee)”

Key Takeaways

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  1. Policy Regulated by IRS: The Guideline Premium and Corridor Test (GPT) is a life insurance policy test regulated by the IRS. It ensures that the policy does not overstep benefits limits in consideration for the policyholder’s paid premiums, therefore not operating essentially as a tax-advantaged investment scheme.
  2. Death Benefits & Premium Payments: The GPT helps determine the guideline single premium, the annual guideline level premium, and the seven-pay premium of a policy. These constraints are basically limits on the total death benefits in relation to the amount of premiums paid.
  3. Affects Policy Classification: The results of the GPT have a significant impact on the classification of the insurance policy. If a life insurance policy fails the test, it becomes a Modified Endowment Contract (MEC) which has different tax implications compared to non-MEC policies.

“`This is a simplified explanation, every individual policy may have different nuances that impact how the GPT is applied.


The Guideline Premium and Corridor Test (GPT) is an essential business/finance term as it pertains to life insurance policies in the United States. Conducting the GPT helps to determine the tax status of a life insurance contract. If a life insurance policy fails this test, it will be deemed as a Modified Endowment Contract (MEC), subsequently, the policy earnings may get subjected to taxes and penalties. To ensure tax advantages of a life insurance policy, it is crucial to maintain premium payments below the GPT limits. Hence, understanding and considering the GPT is of primary importance for policyholders and insurance providers alike to maintain the tax efficiencies intended with life insurance contracts.


The Guideline Premium and Corridor Test (GPT) is chiefly purposed to determine the tax status of a life insurance contract in the United States. It plays a critical role in preventing the misuse of life insurance contracts as tax shelters. Essentially, the GPT is used to establish the maximum amount of premiums that can be paid into a policy, pertaining to the policyholder’s age and the policy’s face amount, without changing the status of the contract from a life insurance contract to a modified endowment contract (MEC), which carries different tax implications.The purpose of the GPT is to provide a balance when considering the death benefits and savings element of the insurance contract. It helps protect against the over-funding of life insurance contracts while maintaining the benefit-formulated premium payments throughout the duration of the contract. Hence, the GPT is a beneficial tool both for the insurer and the insured, as it maintains tax advantages associated with a life insurance policy and avoids potential misuse or over-funding of such policies.


1. Life Insurance Companies: Many life insurance companies use the Guideline Premium and Corridor Test (GPT) to determine the minimum premium amounts for their universal life insurance policies. Here, the GPT helps insurance companies ensure the policy does not become a Modified Endowment Contract (MEC), attracting certain tax implications for the policyholder. For instance, if a 40-year-old man buys such a policy, the premiums would be set based on the GPT to make sure the policy doesn’t get classified as an MEC.2. Financial Planning and Wealth Management: An example can be seen in the context of a financial planner advising a high net-worth client about their life insurance options. The planner might use the GPT to help the client structure their life insurance premiums in a way that will provide the highest death benefit, avoid the policy being classified as a Modified Endowment Contract, and minimize tax liability. 3. Corporate-Owned Life Insurance (COLI): Businesses often take out life insurance policies on key employees. Companies use the GPT to structure these policies in a way that yields the largest death benefit at the lowest cost, while also avoiding potential tax consequences. So, a tech company taking out a policy on their CEO would use the GPT to decide on the premium amounts and ensure the policy is not classified as a Modified Endowment Contract.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What does Guideline Premium and Corridor Test (GPT) mean in financial terms?

GPT refers to a test in the United States used by insurers to determine whether an insurance contract can qualify as a life insurance contract for tax purposes, set by the Internal Revenue Code (IRC).

How does the Guideline Premium and Corridor Test work?

The GPT involves two parts: ensuring the paid premiums do not exceed the guideline premium limit and making sure the death benefit of the life insurance is at least a specified corridor amount greater than the cash value of the policy.

How is the guideline premium limit calculated?

The guideline premium limit is calculated as the greater of a one-time premium that would fund future benefits or a level annual premium funding benefits over a seven-year period.

What does the corridor in GPT refer to?

The corridor refers to the difference between the total death benefit and the policy’s cash value to verify that the policy is more of a death benefit plan than a cash accumulation plan.

What happens if an insurance contract fails the GPT?

If an insurance contract fails the GPT, it will not qualify as a life insurance contract for tax purposes. This means that policy loans, dividends, and sometimes even death benefits may become taxable.

Can I avoid a policy changing status if it fails the GPT?

Yes, you may be able to avoid this by making corrective distributions or death benefit increases before the end of a curing period defined in the policy.

Where can I find details about the GPT requirements?

Detailed requirements for the GPT can be found in Section 7702 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). It is also advisable to consult with a financial advisor or an insurance professional to understand how it works in detail.

Related Finance Terms

  • Lifetime Premium Cap: A limit on the total amount an insurance policyholder can pay into a policy during its lifetime.
  • Corridor Factor: A percentage applied to the net amount at risk in calculating the guideline single premium for a life insurance policy.
  • Guideline Single Premium: The net single premium that would fund future benefits under the policy.
  • Seven-Pay Test: A test used to determine whether a life insurance contract is considered a Modified Endowment Contract, which has different tax rules.
  • Net Amount at Risk: The difference between the death benefit of a life insurance policy and the cash value of the policy.

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