Savings bonds are tax-smart for college savings

Amid the evolving assortment of education tax breaks is a benefit that has survived with few changes over the years: the education savings bond program. When you qualify for this federal income tax exclusion, the interest you receive from bonds redeemed to pay for certain college expenses may be tax-free.

Are bonds you bought years ago eligible? It depends on when you bought them and how they’re titled. Eligible bonds include Series EE or Series I savings bonds you purchased after 1989, as long as you were at least 24 years old when they were issued. The age restriction rules out bonds you put in the names of your kids or grandkids, though the children can be named as beneficiaries.

Once you’re sure your bonds qualify for the exclusion, the next step is to find out if you meet the income limitation. In 2013, you can exclude all the interest income you receive from eligible savings bonds when you file a joint return and your modified adjusted gross income is less than $112,050 ($74,700 for singles). A partial exclusion is available until your income reaches $142,050 ($89,700 for singles), at which point the exclusion is no longer available.

Finally, the bonds must be redeemed in the same year you pay qualifying educational expenses for yourself, your spouse, or your dependent child. What expenses qualify? The definition includes tuition and fees that you pay out-of-pocket and for which you claim no other deduction or credit. You can also claim the exclusion when you use the bond proceeds to fund a 529 college savings plan or a Coverdell education savings account.

Savings bonds offer additional, less restrictive opportunities for education and tax planning. For instance, it may make sense to put the bonds in your child’s name and report the interest on an annual basis. Depending on your child’s income, the interest could remain tax-free. Alternatively, you may choose to defer recognizing interest on bonds issued in your child’s name until the bonds are redeemed.

Please call us to discuss these strategies and others that can help ease the burden of college costs.

About Brenda J. McGivern, CPA

Brenda McGivern started her own certified public accounting and management consulting firm in October 2001. The full service CPA firm provides tax and accounting solutions to meet the needs of today's small business and individual. Brenda McGivern has become a trusted advisor and valuable resource her clients rely on for timely, accurate assistance when they need it. Before starting the firm, she worked as an accountant for three years at a local firm and prior to that five years at a large international CPA firm in Boston. She has performed the following tax services: federal, state and local tax planning, international tax planning, estate and succession planning, mergers and acquisitions, capital retention and IRS representation. She has also coordinated assurance engagements, such as financial statement audits, reviews and compilations from the planning phase through the reporting phase. She has prepared and reviewed regulatory filings for numerous regulatory agencies including the Security and Exchange Commission. Prior to these positions she was selected from over 2,000 candidates into an eight-person intensive financial management program at an international technology company. The program consisted of graduate level classroom study and two six-month rotational assignments in financial operations. She graduated cum laude from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and holds a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in accounting. McGivern also holds a license in Massachusetts as a Certified Public Accountant and is a member of the American Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants. She resides in Stoughton, Massachusetts with her husband Brian, and their sons Sean, Ryan and Conor and their dog, Davis.
This entry was posted in Financial Planning, Investing, IRS Articles, Tax and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s