If you withdraw the money that is left over in your 529 account and don't use it to pay for the beneficiary's qualified higher education expenses, you'll have to pay a federal penalty tax of 10 percent on the earnings portion of the withdrawal (a state penalty may apply as well). You may also have to pay federal, and in some cases state, income taxes on the earnings portion of the withdrawal.
However, if you have money left over in your account, withdrawing it and paying a penalty isn't your only option. All 529 plans allow the account owner to change the beneficiary without penalty (although depending on the plan, there may be a fee for this service). In addition, you may be able to receive a "rollover" distribution from your 529 plan and recontribute the proceeds within 60 days to the same or a different state's program with a new beneficiary. Keep in mind that in both instances the new beneficiary must be a qualifying family member, or taxes and a penalty will be due.
Note: Investors should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses associated with 529 plans before investing. More information about 529 plans is available in each issuer's official statement, which should be read carefully before investing. Also, before investing, consider whether your state offers a 529 plan that provides residents with favorable state tax benefits.
If you are investing in a 529 plan outside of your state of residence, you may lose available state tax benefits. Make sure you understand your state tax laws to get the most from your plan.
529 plans are subject to enrollment, maintenance, administration/management fees and expenses. 529 plans are subject to fluctuation in value and market rise, including loss of principal.
Investors should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses of 529 plans carefully before purchasing. More information about 529 plans can be found in the issuer's official statement. Please read the official statement carefully before investing.
Please be advised that this material is not intended as legal or tax advice. Accordingly, any tax information provided in this material is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by any taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer. The tax information was written to support the promotion or marketing of the transaction(s) or matter(s) addressed and you should seek advice based on your particular circumstances from an independent advisor.
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GE 38125 (03/2007)