Frequently Virginia529 runs promotions in May, part of their 5/29 celebrations. This year you can score $50 by simply opening a new account, contributing $50, and then setting up auto-contributions. The deadline is next week, May 31st, 2023.
What if I don't live in Virginia or my student doesn't attend a school in Virginia?
There's nothing in the terms and conditions restricting this offer to residents of Virginia. It appears that almost any adult can participate in this offer.
You aren't limited to using the account to pay for school in Virginia. You can use the 529 for most schools across the country and even some international schools. I use my Virginia529 accounts to pay school-related costs for my two daughters who are both attending school at Brigham Young University, a private university located in Utah.
How many times can I use this offer?
Virginia529 will contribute $50 for each account owner/beneficiary combo. You can get your spouse to open accounts with you for every student beneficiary. You can even open them up for each other. Maybe even invite grandparents to join in. There is no limit on the beneficiary's age.
My wife and I both opened new accounts for each of our six children as well as each other for a total 14 accounts. I already have many accounts that I've opened previously. This time I opened 2042 Target Enrollment accounts. If/when Virginia529 repeats the offer in future years, I'll just open new Target Enrollment accounts for a different target year.
I gain $700 by contributing $840 ($50 initial contribution + $10 for one month of auto-contribution).
What will you do with the accounts you opened for yourself and your spouse?
I don't plan on going back to school and neither does my wife. For the accounts we opened for each other, I'll likely file an Account Owner Change form and move the money into one of my children's accounts.
If I wanted, I can keep these accounts open indefinitely, maybe rolling them over to a future non-existent grandchild. There's no limit on how long this account stays open. The only challenge would be keeping track of it so it doesn't get lost in the shuffle.
Can I turn off the automatic investment?
You must keep the recurring contributions active until June 30th, 2023. In theory, you could open the account, set the date of recurring contribution for the 15th of the month, then cancel the recurring contribution on July 1st after one debit. You'll have met the giveaway requirements by contributing an initial $50 and one month's auto invest of $10 to get the free $50. If that's your strategy, just set a calendar reminder to turn off the recurring contribution.
Will I be taxed on the matching contribution?
I've found from experience that you do need to report the matching $50 contribution as miscellaneous income when filing your taxes. In practice, Virginia529 will only report the income if your scored more than $1,000. If you have that many beneficiaries you're sending to college, good luck! You need it!
Seriously, how many Virginia529 accounts do you have?
I have 75 different Virginia 529 accounts that I'm either the owner or an authorized contact on.
As "hobbies" go, my proclivity towards opening Virginia529 accounts is relatively harmless. To date, I have scored over $2,700 from Virginia529 giveways alone.
This is free money. The effort involved--yet-another-account, filling out a couple forms--is worth it in my book. But I can respect that this is a paltry sum of money to many. If Virginia529 keeps repeating this offer every year, those sums of money will add up.
If you're going to act on this, you have until May 31st to open the account and setup the automatic investment.