529 Contribution Limits for 2024: Max Contribution by State

The contribution limits for 529 plans generally aren’t discussed that often, for good reason: They’re typically quite high, and many families won’t contribute enough to meet them.

That’s because, unlike retirement accounts like IRAs or 401(k)s, the IRS doesn’t set specific contribution limits for 529 college savings plans. Instead, the agency simply notes that the amount contributed to a 529 (also called a qualified tuition program, or QTP) can’t be more than what’s needed to pay for qualified education expenses

However, states do tend to set maximum contribution limits for their plans. Keep in mind that limits tend to be the total amount you can contribute per beneficiary, but read the 529 plan’s contribution limit documentation for specifics, as rules may vary.

529 contribution limits by state



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529 contributions and the gift tax

One thing to keep in mind: 529 contributions may trigger gift tax consequences if you earmark more than the gift tax exclusion ($18,000 for 2024) for any one beneficiary in a tax year. This exclusion is an individual one, meaning a married couple giving jointly could gift up to $36,000 to one beneficiary in 2024.

» Feeling generous? Learn about the gift tax

The vast majority of people do not need to worry about this, as they are unlikely to hit the lifetime exclusion, which is currently $13.61 million. However, if you exceed the annual exclusion, you may need to file a gift tax return.

Superfunding 529s

One strategy for those who want to contribute more than the annual exclusion is known as superfunding: You can front-load a 529 by making up to five years’ worth of contributions at one time, then treat the contribution as if it were made over five years.

This means you could put $90,000 into a 529 account for one beneficiary today — five times the current $18,000 annual gift tax exclusion. The IRS allows you to do this for each beneficiary if you’re contributing to 529s for multiple people

The benefit of this strategy, if you have the money available, is that you’ll give your contributions longer to grow and earn investment income.

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