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(Related: Quiz: How Well Do You Know Annuities?)

There are many types of commercial annuities, all of which are designed to do different jobs. For this reason, any statement that begins “Annuities are …” is probably misleading or outright false, precisely because the term covers so many different types of contracts. Even more complex is the taxation of these products, which varies based on purchase date, type of contract and many other factors. Scroll through the slideshow above to find answers to several commonly asked questions.

– For additional information on taxation of annuities, see 2019 Tax Facts on Insurance and Employee Benefits.