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Form 1099-Q


Form 1099-Q is a tax form in the United States, issued by banks and other financial institutions. It reports distributions from education savings accounts and Coverdell education savings accounts. The information it provides is necessary for determining the taxability of these distributions on an individual’s income tax return.


The phonetics for the keyword “Form 1099-Q” would be “Form one-zero-nine-nine-Q.” The “Q” is pronounced as the English letter Q, just like in “queen.”

Key Takeaways

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  1. Form 1099-Q is a tax form: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) uses this form to track the distributions made from a qualified education program. It keys in on the earnings part of the distributions which may be subject to tax.
  2. Filing requirements: Institutions that manage these accounts such as banks, educational institutions, or plan administrators, are usually the ones who file Form 1099-Q, and they send it to the taxpayer who received the distribution. However, plan participants also receive a copy.
  3. Taxable income: Normally, distributions from a 529 plan or ESA are not taxable income on a federal return provided the money is used for qualified education expenses. If the funds are not used for qualified education expenses, the earnings part of the distribution is generally taxable and could also be subject to an additional 10% tax.



Form 1099-Q is a crucial tax form in the U.S. business/finance sector, primarily applicable to those who have established a 529 plan or a Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA). This form is provided by issuers to the IRS and recipients who have received distributions from a 529 plan or ESA during the tax year. Having an understanding of Form 1099-Q is important as it helps individuals track and report any distributions that might be taxable. If the funds are used for qualified education expenses, they are typically tax-free. However, if the funds are used for non-qualified expenses, then the earnings portion of the distribution may be subject to income tax and a potential penalty. Thus, Form 1099-Q becomes vital for tax compliance and accurate reporting of education savings account distributions.


The Form 1099-Q is a crucial document in the realm of finance and business, predominantly because it serves a specific purpose: providing detailed information about distributions made from Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) and 529 Plans, both of which are specialized forms of investment accounts meant for education-related expenses. The function of this document is to help individuals and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) keep track of these distributions, primarily to ensure that individuals are using these funds for qualified education expenses, thus keeping these distributions tax-free. Without Form 1099-Q, it would be considerably harder for both individuals and the IRS to maintain accurate and up-to-date records regarding the use of these education-specific savings.Another significant element of Form 1099-Q lies in its role in the tax reporting process. Any individual who receives distributions from a 529 Plan or an ESA during the tax year receives Form 1099-Q from the plan’s custodian. It includes valuable details like the total amount of distribution, the portion of the distribution that comes from earnings, and the part that is a return of the original investment. It’s crucial for recipients to understand that even though they receive Form 1099-Q, it does not necessarily mean they owe tax on the distributions. This will only occur if the distribution exceeds qualified education expenses.


Form 1099-Q is used by financial institutions to report distributions from various educational accounts and savings plans. Here are three real-world examples of its use:1. College Savings: Let’s say Jane’s parents had set up a 529 College Savings Plan for her when she was a child. Now she’s going off to college and they start withdrawing to pay her tuition and other qualified expenses. Their financial institution will send them a Form 1099-Q so they can report these distributions correctly on their tax return.2. Refinancing Student Loans: John took out a student loan to fund his graduate school studies. After graduation, he gets a better-paying job and decides to refinance his student loans. The new lender uses a 529 plan to pay off the original loan. At the end of the year, John receives a Form 1099-Q from the lender that shows the amount paid out of the 529 plan to cover his student loans.3. Educational Assistance Programs: Sarah participates in her employer’s Educational Assistance Program, which reimburses her for the costs of her MBA classes up to a limit. Her employer pays the money directly to her college. At the end of the year, Sarah will receive a Form 1099-Q from her employer that outlines the distributions made for her educational costs.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Form 1099-Q?

Form 1099-Q is a tax form that you will receive if you have money in a program such as a 529 Plan or a Coverdell ESA and you take a distribution from that account during the tax year. It’s part of the series of 1099 forms that report various types of income and expenses that may impact your taxable income.

When should I expect to receive my Form 1099-Q?

You should typically receive your Form 1099-Q from your account administrator by early February of the year following the distribution.

Who must file Form 1099-Q?

An account administrator for a 529 plan or Coverdell ESA must file Form 1099-Q. If you have taken a distribution from one of these accounts during the tax year, they should send you Form 1099-Q.

What details are included in Form 1099-Q?

Form 1099-Q includes general information, such as your name, address, and taxpayer identification number, as well as specifics about any distributions you took during the tax year. The form provides the gross distribution, the amount of earnings on the distribution, and the basis (or principal) of the distribution.

How does Form 1099-Q affect my taxes?

The earnings portion of a distribution from a 529 plan or a Coverdell ESA that is used for qualifying education expenses is not subject to federal income tax. However, if the distribution is not used for these expenses, the earnings may be subject to income tax – and potentially a 10% additional tax.

What are the tax implications if I over contribute to my 529 plan?

If the total of contributions to a 529 plan exceeds the allowable limit, the excess must be withdrawn or you could face a 6% excise tax. The withdrawal would be reported on Form 1099-Q.

Can Form 1099-Q be filed electronically?

Yes, Form 1099-Q can be filed digitally through the IRS’s electronic filing system.

What should I do if I haven’t received Form 1099-Q but I took a distribution?

If you have not received Form 1099-Q but you did take a distribution, you should contact your account administrator. They are responsible for providing you with this form.

Related Finance Terms

  • Tuition Payments
  • Qualifying Education Programs
  • Educational Tax Credits
  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
  • Taxable Distributions

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