Intro to Coverdell Education Savings Accounts
A Coverdell ESA is an education savings plan designed to help save for the elementary, high school and college costs of a child.
A Coverdell ESA can be a good choice if you have younger children and want the flexibility to use the money for a wide variety of education costs. Coverdell accounts are funded with after-tax contributions, and the maximum contribution per account is $2,000 per year. In general, contributions can be made to the account until the child reaches age 18. We’ll help you understand the details to see if this is a good choice for your family’s situation.
Who It’s For
A Coverdell ESA can be a good choice if $2,000 is the most you think you’ll save each year per child. And it gives you the flexibility to use the money as early as elementary school. If you don’t want to be limited to $2,000 a year though, or want the option to use the money for more than just education expenses, you have other college savings plan options too.
We can help educate you on your education funding options to see what plan is best for you.
How It Works
Who Can Contribute
Almost anyone can contribute to a Coverdell ESA – parents, grandparents, friends, corporations and tax-exempt organizations.
How Much You Can Contribute
The maximum contribution to a Coverdell account is $2,000 per year. So if you contribute $1,500, additional annual contributions for that child can be no more than $500 from other people. You can make contributions to the Coverdell ESAs of as many children as you like.
How Long You Can Contribute
Contributions can be made to the account until the child reaches age 18. The age limit is extended for individuals who require extra time to complete their high school education because of a learning disability or a physical, mental, or emotional condition.
The money in a Coverdell account can be used at any elementary (kindergarten through grade 8), secondary (grades 9-12), and accredited public, private or religious colleges.
Investment choices vary depending on the plan, but you’ll generally get a pretty wide range of options. We’ll help you look through your choices.
Ownership and Control
The account owner controls the account for the benefit of the child. The money then generally becomes the child's property at age 18.
Taxes on Contributions
All contributions are made after taxes, but contributions do qualify for the annual federal gift tax exclusion (in 2014, $14,000 for single filers and $28,000 for joint filers).
Earnings and Withdrawals
Earnings grow federal income-tax deferred. You won’t pay taxes for withdrawals either, as long as they’re used to pay for qualified education expenses (see below). State tax laws may vary.
Qualified Education Expenses
Qualified education expenses include: tuition, books, education equipment (including computers)*, fees, supplies, educational technology (including internet access & related services)*, academic tutoring*, uniforms*, supplementary items, room and board, transportation*
*Elementary and secondary school expenses only.
Contributions to a Coverdell ESA are not considered in calculating contributions to IRAs. Therefore, even if you make the maximum allowable contribution to your IRA, you may still make a contribution to a Coverdell if you meet the income requirements.
Using Money for Unqualified Education Expenses
The child has until 30 days after reaching age 30 to use the money for qualified education expenses, unless he/she is a special needs child (someone who requires additional time to complete his/her education because of a learning disability or physical, mental, or emotional condition). You can also choose to transfer the account to another family member.
Withdrawals of earnings not used for qualified educational purposes may be subject to a 10% penalty. Those withdrawals will be included in the child’s taxable income.
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The information contained herein is general and should not be considered legal or tax advice. Laws of particular state and your particular situation may significantly affect the general information presented herein. The availability of the tax or other benefits mentioned above may be conditioned on meeting certain requirements. COUNTRY Financial and our representatives cannot give tax or legal advice. You should consult your attorney or tax advisor regarding your specific legal or tax situation.
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