Form 1099-Q: Payments From Qualified Education Programs (2023)

A 1099-Q is an IRS tax form used to report distributions made from qualified education programs like 529 plans and Coverdell ESAs. These accounts allow individuals to save money for future educational expenses with potential tax benefits.  The form details the amount of money withdrawn from the account during the tax year (2023 in this case) and helps determine any potential tax implications.

What is a Qualified Education Program?

A qualified education program refers to two main savings options for future educational expenses:

529 Plans: Sponsored by states and often offered with tax benefits, these plans allow you to save for qualified education costs.

Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (CESAs): Similar to 529 plans, CESAs offer federal tax advantages for saving for a beneficiary's qualified education expenses.

What information is included on Form 1099-Q?

Payer's Name and TIN: This identifies the program administrator (e.g., state agency or financial institution) that manages your QTP or Coverdell ESA.

Recipient's Name and TIN: This shows the recipient of the distribution, which could be you (the account owner) or the designated beneficiary of the account.

Account Number: This helps identify specific accounts if you have multiple accounts with the same program administrator.

Box 1. Gross Distribution: This is the total amount withdrawn from the QTP or Coverdell ESA during the year.

Box 2. Earnings: This shows any earnings accrued on the withdrawn amount. Generally, earnings used for qualified education expenses are not taxable.

Box 3. Basis: This represents the amount of your own contributions to the QTP or Coverdell ESA that's included in the withdrawal. This amount typically isn't taxable.

Box 4. Trustee-to-Trustee Transfer Checkbox: Marked if the funds were transferred directly to another QTP or ABLE account.

Box 5. Checkbox: Identifies the type of program (Private QTP, State QTP, or Coverdell ESA).

Box 6. Designated Beneficiary Checkbox: Marked if the recipient isn't the designated beneficiary.

Distribution Codes (Optional): These codes provide additional details about the withdrawal (e.g., regular distribution, excess contribution withdrawal).

What are considered qualified education expenses?

Qualified education expenses generally include tuition, fees, books, and supplies required for enrollment or attendance at a qualified educational institution. This can include elementary, secondary, vocational schools, and colleges/universities.

What if I receive a 1099-Q but I didn't contribute to the account?

If the account is in your name but someone else contributed (like a parent or grandparent), you'll still receive a 1099-Q. The tax implications will depend on how you used the distributions.

I used some of the distribution for qualified and non-qualified expenses. How do I report it?

You'll need to calculate the portion used for each type of expense. Only the earnings portion used for non-qualified expenses will be taxable. It's best to consult a tax professional if you have a complex situation.