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529 Tips

Rethink Your Refund To Fund Your Ohio 529

It’s tax season and it is time to rethink your refund. Your federal income tax return can be the foundation of your college savings account. By saving some or all of the refund in your Ohio 529 Plan account, you can be well on your way to covering your child’s higher education or college costs.

529 plans can be used nationwide whatever school comes after high school — whether a four-year, two-year, trade or vocational programs, and certificate programs. With the changes made to 529 plans through the SECURE Act of 2019, 529 plans can pay for qualified costs for apprenticeships, including fees, textbooks, supplies, and equipment, which includes required trade tools. The apprenticeship program must be registered with the Secretary of Labor’s National Apprenticeships Act in order to use a 529 plan withdrawal. Interested parties can check the U. S. Labor Department’s search tool to confirm that a program is eligible.

See What Your Tax Refund Can Fund

Ohio’s 529 Plan, College Advantage, has figured out some of the numbers for you. If you saved some or all of your tax refunds for 13 years, below are some examples of how much in-state tuition you might cover:

  • 75% of a 4-year chemistry degree by saving about $2,776 a year
  • 75% of 4-year environmental studies degree by saving about $2,776 a year
  • 100% of a 2-year criminal justice degree by saving about $588 a year
  • 100% of 2-year medical assistant degree by saving about $612 a year
  • 100% of 2-year culinary arts degree by saving about $624 a year
  • 100% of a 1-year mobile app developer certification by saving about $216 a year
  • 100% of a 1-year automotive technician certification by saving about $309 a year
  • 100% of software developers academy training by saving about $768 a year
  • 100% of firefighter academy training by saving about $228 a year

Would you like to crunch the numbers for yourself? Ohio’s 529 Plan offer tools and calculators to create the college savings plan that works best for your family. Use the College Savings Planner tool to see how different contributions amounts can add up. This tool can calculate how much you can save by contributing your tax refund every year. Additionally, you can use the tool to see what your estimated 529 account total could be if you deposited monthly automatic contributions, as well as increased the dollar amount or the frequency of 529 contributions. Every amount contributed, whether big or small, can help you reach your savings goal.

Ohio’s tax-free 529 Plan is the simple way to be ready to pay some or all of your child’s higher education.

529 Plan Tax Advantages

There are many reasons why to save for your child’s future higher education in Ohio’s 529 Plan, especially the tax benefits.

First, earnings in a 529 plan are tax-free, so all investment growth is yours to cover college costs.

Second, 529 plan withdrawals to cover qualified higher education expenses are tax-free at federally accredited programs. These expenditures include tuition; room and board (on and off campus) when the beneficiary is enrolled at least half-time; mandatory fees; computer equipment and related technology as well as internet services; books, supplies and equipment related to enrollment and classes; and certain expenses for a special-needs student. With the 2019 SECURE Act, qualified expenses such as fees, textbooks, supplies, and equipment, which includes required trade tools related to a U.S. Labor Department accredited apprenticeships can be paid with 529 withdrawals. Also, student loan repayment is now a qualified withdrawal for 529 plans. Any student loan that qualifies for the federal student loan income tax deduction can now be paid with a 529 distribution. There is a $10,000 lifetime limit per 529 beneficiary. However, an additional $10,000 can be used to repay qualified student loans for each of the beneficiary’s siblings.

Third, Ohio residents who contribute to Ohio’s 529 Plan can deduct their contributions from their taxable state income. This deduction amount is $4,000 per year, per beneficiary, with unlimited carry forward, which means that the $4,000 is not a contribution cap. If an Ohio taxpayer contributes more than $4,000 in one year, they can continue to subtract $4,000 per year, per beneficiary, from their State of Ohio taxable income until all the 529 contributions are deducted.

Set Your Savings Strategies

It’s never too late or too early to start saving for your child’s future college costs. No matter how old your child is, Ohio’s 529 Plan can provide 529 account savings strategies. For instance, if your child is a baby to toddler, it is a fantastic time to start saving for future college expenses to take advantage of compound interest. During kindergarten through elementary school, disappearing expenses like day care costs allow you to redirect those dollars to your college savings plan. When your child enters middle school and high school, you may need to increase your contributions. Even if your child is about to start or has even started college, the tax-free earnings, tax-free withdrawals, and the state income tax deduction for Ohioans can still build up the 529 account.

Ready to rethink your refund and open an account with Ohio’s 529 plan? Visit CollegeAdvantage online to save for your child’s future training and education. An investment in a 529 plan is an investment in your child as every dollar saved today is a dollar that doesn’t have to be borrowed later. For someday your child is going to college. Someday starts today with CollegeAdvantage.com.

Posted on March 11, 2020

Ohio Tuition Trust Authority

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