The New York State College Choice Tuition Savings Program

By Levin, Mark H. | The CPA Journal, April 1998 | Go to article overview

The New York State College Choice Tuition Savings Program


Levin, Mark H., The CPA Journal


As part of the 1997-98 budget, New York State has enacted the College Choice Tuition Savings Program (the Tuition Program). Beginning in tax years starting on or after January 1, 1998, both New York State resident and nonresident taxpayers may establish savings accounts to pay for qualified higher education expenses of attending recognized public or private institutions of higher education. These institutions of higher education are not limited to those located in New York State. The state comptroller is charged with implementing the program and in selecting the financial organizations to invest the funds.

Beginning in 1998, both NYS resident and nonresident taxpayers may enter into a "tuition savings agreement" (an account) and establish an account on behalf of a "designated beneficiary." Individual taxpayers may contribute up to a maximum of $5,000 per year. Taxpayers filing joint returns may each contribute up to $5,000 per year for a maximum of $10,000 for a joint return. These contributions are deductible as a subtraction adjustment on the taxpayer's New York State personal income tax return. If a taxpayer wants to contribute to several accounts, the total contributed to all of the accounts may not exceed the maximum allowable contribution as discussed above. In addition, the aggregate contributions to any account, not including any earnings thereon, may not exceed $100,000. Any distributions from an account which are used to pay qualified higher education expenses will be exempt from taxation in computing the New York State personal income tax. This exemption covers both principal and earnings. These contributions will be deposited with the state comptroller or whomever the comptroller so designates. The comptroller, or the comptroller's designee, will have control as to how and in what manner the funds are invested. Similarly, when disbursements are required, the comptroller, or the comptroller's designee, will make payment to the requested payee. Because the tuition program is a "qualified State tuition program" for Federal income tax purposes, earnings will be tax free for Federal purposes until they are disbursed. …

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