Coverdell Education Savings Accounts



The Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA) was created as an incentive to help parents and students save for education expenses. The total contributions for the beneficiary of this account cannot be more than $2,000 in any year, no matter how many accounts have been established. A beneficiary is someone who is under age 18 or has special needs.

Contributions to a Coverdell ESA are not deductible, but amounts deposited in the account grow tax-free until distributed. The beneficiary will not owe tax on the distributions if they are used for qualified education expenses at an eligible institution. This benefit applies to qualified higher education expenses as well as to qualified elementary and secondary education expenses.

If there is a balance in the Coverdell ESA when the beneficiary reaches age 30 (unless the beneficiary is a special needs individual), it must generally be distributed within 30 days. The portion representing earnings on the account will be taxable and subject to the additional 10% tax. The beneficiary may avoid these taxes by rolling over the full balance to another Coverdell ESA for another family member.

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