News & Press Releases
Treasurer Miller suggests an alternative to the mall this Christmas season
OKLAHOMA CITY – State Treasurer Ken Miller has a suggestion for parents and grandparents who are weary of the crowds at the mall or tired of waiting anxiously for a gift from an online retailer.
Rather than putting all your holiday spending toward gifts your children and grandchildren will outgrow, give a gift they’ll grow into and that they will appreciate for a lifetime.
Miller, board chairman of the Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan (OCSP), suggests parents and grandparents use the holiday season as an opportunity to give the gift of education by opening or making a contribution to an OCSP account.
“Even the most popular holiday gifts will eventually lose their luster,” Miller said. “Saving toward a college education is a gift you can give your loved ones that will stay with them forever. This is especially true for newborns and toddlers, who have the most time to potentially grow their OCSP accounts before heading off to college.”
Parents, grandparents, relatives or friends who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents and at least 18 years old may open an OCSP account on behalf of a beneficiary, and the minimum initial contribution is only $100. Once an account is open, anyone can contribute, making the OCSP a great gift idea for all family and friends.
At the OCSP website, www.ok4saving.org, the state’s 529 college savings plan provides gift-givers with an e-Gifting option where contributions can be made to an OCSP account online, and “Gift of Education” certificates can be created to show the contribution to a loved one’s account.
For those hoping family and friends will contribute to an existing plan instead of giving a more traditional gift, OCSP has created an option to allow account owners to send a tactful, prewritten email inviting others to contribute to their existing OCSP account.
The email contains a link to a secure web page, where he or she can make an electronic contribution from a checking or savings account. The e-gifting program, which recently received a makeover to update the interface with a cleaner, easier to use design, allows family and friends to make contributions without having to know or enter an account number or the investment option to which they’re contributing. No account information is shared with the gift giver.
If relatives or friends know the beneficiary’s OCSP account number, they also have the option to download an Additional Contribution Form from the OCSP website and mail it with a check.
Through October 31, 2016, more than $435,000 has been contributed through the OCSP e-gifting program representing over 600 gifts. Last year, 37 percent of all e-gift contributions were received in November and December.
Holiday contributions are also eligible for an Oklahoma tax deduction. (Limitations apply. See the OCSP Disclosure Booklet for details.)
While capitalizing on potential tax advantages is a wise move, Miller said it’s also wise to begin saving for college as early as possible, as the cost of higher education has climbed steadily over the years.
“A college education can improve employment opportunities, increase potential earnings and enrich students’ lives,” he said. “Every parent wants his or her children to succeed and reach their goals. When families start planning and saving for college early, they give those savings greater opportunity to grow.”
More information about opening an OCSP account can be found at www.ok4saving.org.
About the OCSP
Oklahoma taxpayers may deduct from their Oklahoma adjusted gross income up to $10,000 in contributions to the Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan for individual taxpayers and up to $20,000 for taxpayers filing a joint return with a five-year carryforward. Read the Disclosure Booklet carefully.
Any earnings in an OCSP account are federal and Oklahoma income tax-deferred, and distributions are also federal and Oklahoma income tax-free when qualified withdrawals are made to fund an array of student expenses at most institutions of higher learning. Funds may be used at virtually any private or public university, college or career technology center nationwide.
Introduced in April 2000, the Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan had more than $715 million in total assets and more than 60,000 accounts, as of November 11, 2016.
Consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses before investing in the Oklahoma College Savings Plan. Please visitwww.ok4saving.org or call toll-free 1-877-654-7284 for a PlanDisclosure Booklet containing this and more information. Read it carefully.
Before investing in a 529 plan, consider whether the state where you or your Beneficiary resides has a 529 plan that offers favorable state tax benefits that are available if you invest in that state’s 529 plan.
Taxpayers should seek advice based on their own particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor. Non-qualified withdrawals may be subject to federal and state taxes and the additional federal 10% tax.
Account value in the Investment Options is not guaranteed and will fluctuate based upon a number of factors, including general market conditions.
TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc., Program Manager. TIAA-CREF Individual & Institutional Services, LLC, member FINRA, distributor and underwriter for the Oklahoma College Savings Plan.