Bright Start 529 Plan Help Center

Featured Topic Questions

Illinois Tax Benefit Questions

 
      • Individuals can deduct up to $10,000 of their contributions in 2020.
      • Contributors who are married and filing jointly can deduct up to $20,000 of their contributions in 2020 ($10,000 individual).
      • The contributions portion of a rollover from an out-of-state 529 program can be deducted up to the $10,000 individual or $20,000 joint limits if the rollover is completed in 2020. The earnings portion of the rollover is not eligible for the deduction.


    • The contributions portion of a rollover from an out-of-state 529 program can be deducted up to the $10,000 individual or $20,000 joint limits if the rollover is completed in 2020. The earnings portion of the rollover is not eligible for the deduction.
    • An Account Owner can request a rollover once every 12 months or upon the change of the account Beneficiary.
    • The rollover check from the out-of-state 529 program must be postmarked in 2020 to qualify as a 2020 rollover contribution.
    • The rollover process can take 2-4 weeks to complete, depending on how quickly the out-of-state 529 program processes the distribution and issues a check. If no other rollovers have been completed in the last 12 months, we recommend requesting a rollover as soon as possible.
    • To request a rollover, the Account Owner must complete and submit the Rollover Form to Bright Start. We will coordinate the rollover with the out-of-state 529 program.
    We recommend reaching out to the out-of-state 529 program determine if there are any fees, penalties, or tax considerations when for requesting a rollover out of the plan. You should also ask if there are any special requirements to complete a rollover, including whether they require a Medallion Signature Guarantee stamp on the Rollover form.

Common Questions

Account Information

 
      • The Account Owner can request a change of beneficiary at any time to a family member of the current beneficiary (i.e. sibling, first cousin, etc). To request a change of beneficiary, the Account Owner should complete the Change of Beneficiary form. The form can be faxed to us at 402.323.1797 or mailed to the address at the top of the form.

      • You can transfer funds between accounts for related beneficiaries at any time, subject to the two investment change per calendar year rule. To request a transfer, we ask that you complete and submit the Fund Transfer form. The form can be faxed to us at 402.323.1797 or mailed to the address at the top of the form.

      • For security reasons, we place a withdrawal restriction on accounts established online. We would be happy to assist after verifying some of your account information over the phone. Once we speak to the Account Owner to confirm account information, we are able to remove the restriction. The Account Owner can then request withdrawals online.
      • The Account Owner can reach our Customer Care Center at 877.432.7444 from 7 am to 7 pm Central Time, Monday through Friday.

      • When the Account Owner is ready to request a withdrawal from an account they have several options:
          • Log into your account online and select “Withdraw” to walk through the simple steps.
          • Complete and submit the Withdrawal Request Form
         
        • Contact us at 877-432-7444 to request the withdrawal over the phone.
      • Qualified college expenses from a 529 account currently include the following:
        • Tuition
        • Fees
        • Books
        • Supplies
        • Equipment required for enrollment
        • Computer and computer-related expenses
        • Certain room and board expenses (if the student is enrolled at least half-time)
      • We can issue a check to the Account Owner, to the Beneficiary, or directly to the college, or can send funds to an appropriately authorized bank account on file. It is our understanding that withdrawals and expenses should match in the same calendar year. We recommend keeping all receipts, invoices or other documentation in the event of questions or an audit in the future.

      *CAUTION – Illinois Qualified Expenses do not include expenses for:

      • tuition in connection with the Beneficiary’s enrollment or attendance at an elementary or secondary public, private, or religious school. The amount of cash distributions for such expenses from all 529 qualified tuition programs with respect to a Beneficiary shall, in the aggregate, not exceed $10,000 during the taxable year;
      • tuition, fees, books, supplies, and equipment required for participation in an Apprenticeship Program;
      • payments on Qualified Education Loans of the Beneficiary or a sibling of the Beneficiary, subject to a $10,000 aggregate limit.

      Currently, expenses for K-12 expenses, apprenticeship programs, and repayment of qualified education loans are not Illinois Qualified Expenses. As a result, for Illinois income tax purposes, if a taxpayer previously claimed an Illinois income tax deduction for Contributions to the account and distributions are then made for such expenses, the taxpayer’s income will be increased by an amount equal to the Contribution Portion of the withdrawal attributable to the contribution that was previously deducted.

      You should consult with your financial, tax or other advisor regarding your individual situation.


      • The Account Owner should complete and submit an Update form. The form should be mailed to Bright Start (address at the top of the form) with the accompanying legal documentation reflecting the change.
      • The Account Owner can reach our Customer Care Center at 877.432.7444 from 7 am to 7 pm Central Time, Monday through Friday.

To find more answers to some common questions about Bright Start 529 Plans, visit our FAQ page.