Building on this question where it is made clear that it is better to have the distribution paid to the beneficiary, rather than the parent/guardian... does it matter who makes the original purchase?

In other words, if I buy my daughter a laptop for school using 529 funds, is it a problem if the receipt has my name, but the distribution goes to her?

  • You bought the laptop, but she gets the money; it's not supposed to work like that.
    – RonJohn
    Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 19:18
  • @RonJohn...care to elaborate in an answer?...particularly as it relates to the linked question.
    – moscafj
    Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 19:24

1 Answer 1


Assuming that the student is a dependent then my experience has been that it doesn't make a tax difference if the money is sent to the parents account, to the students account or to the school.

There is a paperwork difference, but there isn't a tax difference.

What matters is if the expense is allowable. If it is there will not be any taxes.

One thing that did happen, was when the money went to me and there were two children in school, the 529 administrator added the numbers for both children onto one tax form. I then had to calculate them separately, which was made even more complex because the tax software rounded the amounts, and I needed to make sure it didn't add an extra dollar when all was said and done.

Other than that there was no difference regarding the tax situation.

Now if the student wasn't a dependent that might make a difference.

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