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Features and Benefits
- Earnings on your SMART529 Select account grow tax-deferred, leaving all of your money invested to accumulate for college.
Distributions used for qualified higher education expenses (tuition, fees, room, board, books, equipment and supplies) are federal income tax free at any eligible educational institution nationwide including colleges, universities, graduate schools and trade schools. Non-qualified withdrawals are taxable as ordinary income to the extent of earnings and may also be subject to a 10% federal income tax penalty. Such withdrawals may have state income tax implications.
Other qualified expenses include:
- K-12 tuition expenses up to $10,000 per year*
- Repayment of qualified student loans or a maximum lifetime limit of up to $10,000. This includes amounts of repaid principal and interest on any qualified student loan of either a 529 plan designated beneficiary or a sibling of the designated beneficiary.**
- Apprenticeship program registered and certified with the Secretary of Labor under the National Apprenticeship Act. Includes expenses for fees, books, supplies, and equipment required for the participation of a designated beneficiary in a program.**
- Anyone can contribute up to $16,000 per year ($32,000 for married couples filing jointly) to a beneficiary's SMART529 account without gift-tax consequences. Contributions may be accelerated up to $80,000 ($160,000 for married couples) once per 5-year period without incurring federal gift taxes.1
Account Owner Control
- As the account owner you maintain complete control of your SMART529 account, including how contributions are invested and when withdrawals are made
- There is no set deadline for using your account assets. The proceeds can be withdrawn by you at any time and at any age, subject to potential penalties for non-qualified withdrawals.
- You can change your beneficiary without a federal income tax liability, as long as the new beneficiary is a family member of the current beneficiary (an "eligible beneficiary"). Please see the Offering statement for the definition of eligible beneficiaries.
- Your SMART529 account can be used to cover qualified higher education expenses at thousands of eligible institutions throughout the country, including colleges, universities, vocational schools, and private and religious K-12 schools.
- An account can be opened in anyone's name, including your own
- If the beneficiary receives a scholarship, you can withdraw an amount equal to the scholarship from your account without a federal income-tax penalty. The money must be used to pay for qualified education expenses or the earnings will be subject to ordinary income tax, but not the 10% federal income tax penalty.
- Tax-free transfers between investment options are allowed twice per calendar year
Simple, Convenient Contributions
- Anyone can contribute to a SMART529 account, including friends and relatives. It's easy to make a gift contribution to a SMART529 account
- If available contribute using Payroll Direct Deposit — the easiest option!
- Contribute as often as you like. SMART529's Automatic Investment Program makes regular contributing directly from a checking or savings account simple.
- There are no limits on contributions until your account balance exceeds $550,000.
- SMART529 offers a wide range of investment options ranging from conservative to aggressive
- Investing is convenient with asset-allocation models based on the beneficiary's age (Age-Based Portfolios), or based on your risk tolerance and the time before college starts (Static Portfolios)
- The Age-Based and Static Portfolios are automatically rebalanced back to their original allocations on a quarterly basis.
- Investment returns are not guaranteed, and you could lose money by investing in a 529 plan.
*Hartford Funds does not provide tax advice. Investors should work with a financial intermediary to select an appropriate investment option based on the investor's goals, particularly if the investor is considering using the assets for K-12 tuition. The SMART529 investment options were designed for saving for college, particularly the Age-Based Portfolios. Certain Portfolios may be more appropriate for saving for K-12 tuition than others. State income tax treatment varies by state. Please consult with a local tax professional for more information.
**State income tax treatment varies by state. Please consult with a local tax professional for more information.
1 Any additional gifts to the same beneficiary in that 5-year period would be subject to federal gift tax. If the donor elects to treat the gift as being made over 5 years, and the donor dies prior to the end of that 5-year period, the portion of the gift allocable to the period after the donor's death will be included in the donor's estate. Estate tax treatment may differ by state. Please consult your tax professional for more information.