Treasure Kennedy Suggests Opening Accounts for Family and Friends

BATON ROUGE, La. – If you’re struggling to find the perfect last-minute gift this holiday season, State Treasurer John Kennedy wants you to consider opening a college savings account for your child or someone you know.

“One of the best gifts you can give a child is an investment in his future using Louisiana’s START College Savings Program,” said Treasurer Kennedy. “This gift will impact a child’s education in the years to come while maximizing your tax benefits in the short term. I encourage you to open an account today and spread the word about the program to your Facebook friends and Twitter followers. Sharing the good news about START with just five of your friends could potentially lead to five more Louisiana kids going to college.”

START (Student Tuition Assistance and Revenue Trust) accounts can be opened on behalf of a future student with an initial investment of as little as $10. Invested funds grow over time with choices between fixed income and equity investment options. The program has experienced tremendous growth since its inception and has skyrocketed to $464 million in total assets and more than 23,000 account owners.

When the time comes for the student to withdraw money for educational expenses, START funds and their earnings can be used at any accredited college or university for tuition, room and board, books, fees and more. There are no state or federal taxes on START disbursements.

When opening a START account on behalf of a child, an investor can exempt up to $2,400 in deposits per account per year from income reported on Louisiana state tax returns. Married couples filing jointly can deduct up to $4,800 in deposits. Depending on factors such as the investor’s income, the state will pay a match on START deposits ranging from 2 to 14 percent, which is effectively a guaranteed investment return.

“A START account is not only a generous and wise gift for a loved one, it also happens to be one of the best and last solid tax breaks available to families,” says Treasurer Kennedy. “Today is the day to make opening a START account an important part of your Christmas shopping list.”

For more information on Louisiana’s START Savings program, visit the Treasury’s website atwww.latreasury.com. “While you’re on our site, you can continue to spread the holiday cheer by finding unclaimed money for someone you know,” said Treasurer Kennedy. “It only takes a few minutes to look up your friends, relatives and neighbors to see if the state owes them money.”

Contact:
Sarah Mulhearn
(225) 342-0012
smulhearn@treasury.state.la.us