Medaling Mortality Tables: Gold, Silver and Bronze Choices for FASB

If you’re a charity following the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) recommendations for calculating the liability of your split interest agreements, you have an important choice to make at the end of each fiscal year: which mortality table to use to calculate your liabilities. While you might hope that your auditor will make a recommendation, the choice of a mortality table lands squarely in the charity’s purview. For charities looking for an opinion on which mortality table to choose, we’re happy to offer a ranking of our preferred mortality tables from bronze to gold.

Why the Mortality Table Matters

The liability amount is designed to be a good faith estimate of a charity’s obligation to make payments to all gift income beneficiaries for the balance of each individual gift’s term, whether that term is for measuring lives, a term of years, or a combination of the two. Underestimating life spans will deflate a charity’s liability calculation, which can lead to real world consequences for your charity. 

Bronze Medalist: 2010CM

Released by the IRS in May 2022, the 2010CM mortality table is based on 2010 US Census data. This is the table required for the calculation of charitable deductions for split interest gifts established on or after June 1, 2023. A charity that elects to use this table brings their liability calculations in line with their current deduction calculations, and that fact alone sways many charities to elect the 2010CM.

However, it is our third choice because it does not divide annuitants by gender, meaning it calculates the same life expectancy for males and females of the same age, and it predicts shorter life expectancies than the other mortality tables on the podium. As the less conservative choice, it takes home the bronze.

Silver Medalist: Annuity 2000

Unlike the 2010CM table, which looks at life expectancies for the entire US population, the Annuity 2000  mortality table is based on projected mortalities for commercial annuity owners as of the year 2000.

There’s a strong demographic overlap between commercial and charitable gift annuitants, allowing the Annuity 2000 table to provide charities with more realistic life expectancies than the 2010CM. This table also divides annuitants by gender, predicting different life expectancies for male and female annuitants of the same age. However, medical advances since 2000 have left the table dated, leading to its second-place finish.

Gold Medalist: 2012 IAR

Like its cousin the Annuity 2000 table, the 2012 IAR mortality table is an insurance industry table that is designed for assessing the risk of commercial annuities. It is also gender-specific, meaning it presents different mortality expectancies for males and females of the same age. In addition, it is based on more recent mortality data than the Annuity 2000 table: 2012 versus 2000.

What makes the 2012 IAR really stand out from the other mortality tables that have come before is that it is a generational table. This means that projected mortality improvements are incorporated into the table. As a result, each year you use it, it calculates a new expectancy using its built-in formula. With this ability to dynamically adjust its expectancies every year, its division of annuitants by gender, and the most conservative projection of life spans for annuitants in your CGA pool, the 2012 IAR table sweeps the competition and takes the gold.


Best practice for the calculation of split interest agreement liability is to keep up with changes in the mortality tables. Failure to do so underestimates a charity’s obligations, which could lead to a misunderstanding of the financial health of its planned gifts. That misunderstanding, in turn, could lead to faulty decision-making regarding investments, which planned gifts to promote and to whom, and where to best allocate resources. If you are using a table older than the three tables above, we strongly recommend that you update to one of these mortality tables.

We respect that the selection of a mortality table may lie not with a single individual, but with a financial unit, compliance team, or gift policy committee. PG Calc Client Services welcomes the opportunity to answer their questions about how the choice of one of these mortality tables can assist your organization in a fair and thorough assessment of your program’s obligations. 

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