Should I Use a 529 College Savings Plan to Pay for Private K-12 Expenses?

When qualified state tuition programs (QSTPs) were first introduced in 1996 and Section 529 was added to the Internal Revenue Code, the intent of Congress was to create a create a tax-friendly way for families to save for college costs.  At that time, the law provided that any earnings in a QSTP would be tax [...]

Children as Dependents, Kiddie Tax, and College Tax Planning Strategies – Updated

Back in 2014, we authored this article explaining why higher income parents may be well served to gift appreciated investments to their children and then have the children use the proceeds to pay for college.  The article further explained how taxpayers who faced alternative minimum tax (AMT) received no tax benefit from claiming their children as [...]

High Income Earners Fail to Appreciate the Math of 529 Plans – Part II

We made the case in this 2017 Astute Angle post that Section 529 College Savings Plans present a huge tax saving opportunity for high income parents but that most fail to exploit the opportunity.  Based on experience and observation, we cited five reasons that parents and grandparents fail to maximize the potential benefits.  Two of [...]

Tax Planning Strategies Under the New Tax Law

The first sentence of our early November 2017 Astute Angle post read "It is November 8th, 2017 as this is written and there is no doubt that a lot will happen with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act before the end of the year."  As expected, a lot did happen to the initial Tax Cuts [...]

Good and Bad Reasons Why High Income Earners Miss the Opportunity With 529 Plans – Part I

Mid-career professionals with young children severely underutilize Section 529 College Savings Plans.  That is not to say that these parents are unaware of 529 Plans or not using them for college savings.  In fact, most mid-career professional parents who I meet already know about 529 Plans and are often funding these accounts for future college [...]

More Smart Tax Planning with 529 College Savings Plans

In an article last month about saving for college, we outlined some of the many ways to handle overfunded 529 college savings plans and why these underpublicized options justify aggressive funding of 529 plans.  In the opening paragraphs of that May article, we explained how the rules treat 529 account funds used for non-qualified expenses: The first [...]

Flexibility of 529 College Savings Plans Often Argue for Aggressive Funding

In the 20 years since Section 529 was added to the Internal Revenue Code under the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996, many families have discovered the significant advantages of the “Qualified Tuition Programs” which we collectively now refer to as 529 College Savings Plans. Among other benefits, these plans offer tax-exempt investment growth [...]

Tax Saving Tips for Graduate School and Other Low Income Years

Over the course of a career, many individuals will experience a year or more with limited income prior to retirement.  It could be the result of a multi-month break from employment or simply the decision to temporarily leave the workforce for graduate school.  These situations present powerful opportunities that are generally only available for a limited [...]