The Norman Transcript

March 20, 2014

Tax saving time, Oklahoma

By Ken Miller
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — April marks the deadline for income tax filing and is also National Financial Literacy Month. Enhance your financial literacy by April 15 by opening or adding to an Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan account to take advantage of the plan’s exclusive state tax deduction and other benefits.

With college costs rising steadily, investing wisely in your child’s education has never been more important. Opening or adding to an Oklahoma College Savings Plan account today will give you and your child an advantage when it comes time to start paying for college. The more you save now, the less you will need when your child starts college.

Contributing to the plan before April 15 allows Oklahoma families the opportunity to deduct up to $20,000 a year if married filing jointly or $10,000 if filing as a single taxpayer.

In addition, funds moved to the plan from any other 529 plan qualify for the Oklahoma state income tax deduction. The Oklahoma College Savings Plan is the only 529 plan with an Oklahoma income tax deduction.

In December 2013, the Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan conducted a survey. The survey found that 86 percent of Oklahoma parents and grandparents believe it’s “very important” that their child or grandchild attend college; however, only 43 percent of those polled are saving or investing for college.

College graduates generally earn about $1 million more than high school graduates over their lifetimes. Your child also will have a wider array of employment opportunities than those without a college degree.

A college education can fulfill many of your desires for your child’s future, and saving now will help make a college education a reality.

Earnings in an Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan account are federal and Oklahoma income tax free. Qualified withdrawals are permanently free from Oklahoma state and federal income tax.

Funds may be used at virtually any private or public college nationwide. The savings can be applied to tuition as well as other qualified expenses, including fees, books, supplies and room and board costs.

The Oklahoma College Savings Plan is a state-sponsored, tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan administered by TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing Inc.

Introduced in April 2000, the Oklahoma College Savings Plan currently has more than $612 million in total assets with more than 53,000 accounts. Since inception, Oklahomans have used more than $230 million from the plan for college expenses.

After your taxes are complete, please take the time to evaluate your financial literacy. April, National Financial Literacy Month, is a good time for us to all take a look at our financial knowledge, take the time to learn more about our own finances and set financial goals.

For more information about national financial literacy month or for help planning, please visit financialliteracymonth.com.

To open an account now with as little as $100, visit ok4saving.org or call 877-654-7284. Subsequent contributions can be as low as $25.

State Treasurer Ken Miller is chair of the Oklahoma College Savings Plan Board of Trustees.

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