New Utah Educational Savings Plan features for 2015 add flexibility

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Account owners benefit from higher Utah state income tax benefit, now may change account investment option twice per year for the same beneficiary.

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(Salt Lake City) The Utah Educational Savings Plan, Utah’s official and only 529 college savings plan, announced program improvements that benefit Utahns whose New Year’s resolutions include investing more for college in 2015.

Starting this year, Utah account owners can claim a higher state income tax credit or deduction for account contributions, change account investment options twice per year for the same beneficiary instead of once per year, and invest up to $416,000 in all UESP accounts for the same beneficiary. In addition, account owners can take advantage of an easy-to-use online Gift Program recently introduced to invite family and friends to contribute to their accounts.

“UESP is a smart way to save for college, with its low fees, diverse and innovative investment options, and high industry rankings,” said Lynne Ward, UESP executive director. “These new features for 2015 give account owners additional benefits and more freedom to manage their accounts in ways that suit them best.”

Larger state tax credit: UESP account owners who file Utah state income tax returns for the 2015 tax year can claim a larger state income tax credit or deduction than they did in 2014.

A single filer or trust can claim a 5 percent Utah state income tax credit on contributions up to $1,900 per qualified beneficiary, for a maximum tax credit of $95. For married couples filing jointly, the 5 percent tax credit is available on contributions up to $3,800 per qualified beneficiary, for a maximum tax credit of $190. This tax credit reduces the Utah state income taxes a Utah resident account owner owes by the amount of the credit.

Corporations are eligible to deduct up to $1,900 from their Utah state income taxes in 2015 per qualified beneficiary.

A qualified beneficiary is a beneficiary designated on a UESP account before age 19. If this requirement is met, the account owner is eligible for the income tax credit or deduction each year a contribution is made for the life of the beneficiary’s account.

Two investment option changes instead of one: Under a new federal law, UESP account owners can change their investment option twice per year for the same account beneficiary instead of once per year. Previously, the Internal Revenue Service only allowed UESP account owners a single investment option change each year.

Larger maximum balances: Higher education costs increase every year. In 2015, UESP account owners can save up to $416,000 in one or more accounts for a single beneficiary, a 4.8 percent increase from $397,000 in 2014.

The higher maximum aggregate account balance reflects the latest estimated potential maximum cost of qualified higher education expenses, including room and board, for four years of undergraduate plus two years of graduate school at the highest-cost public or private eligible educational institutions in the United States.

New Gift Program: The Gift Program UESP recently introduced makes it easy for account owners to invite friends and family to contribute gifts to their accounts by visiting personal gift pages that account owners create through Account Access online at uesp.org.

For the first time, family and friends can give gifts online as well as by check. More information about the Gift Program is available online at gift.uesp.org.

About UESP

UESP, Utah’s official nonprofit 529 college savings plan, is highly ranked by Morningstar Inc., Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine, Money magazine, CBS MoneyWatch.com, and consumer expert Clark Howard for its low fees and industry innovations such as its customized allocation investment options.

Accounts are free to open, and UESP requires no minimum deposit or account balance. UESP’s user-friendly website, uesp.org, makes it easy to open, manage, and contribute to an account online.

To learn more about the Utah Educational Savings Plan, visit uesp.org, call UESP toll-free at 800.418.2551, or send an email to info@uesp.org.

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Read the Program Description for more information and consider all investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses before investing. Call 800.418.2551 for a copy of the Program Description or visit uesp.org.

Investments in UESP are not guaranteed by UESP, the Utah State Board of Regents, the Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority (UHEAA), or any other state or federal agency. However, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insurance is provided for the FDIC-insured accounts. Please read the Program Description to learn about the FDIC-insured accounts. Your investment could lose value.

Non-Utah taxpayers and residents: You should determine whether the state in which you or your beneficiary pays taxes or lives offers a 529 plan that provides state tax or other benefits not otherwise available to you by investing in UESP. You should consider such state tax treatment and benefits, if any, before investing in UESP.

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Diane Johnson
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