My son is a freshman this year. We live in and he attends school in California. We pulled out the first $ from our Utah 529 plan. I had the money deposited in my account since I paid the registration and dorm & meal plan.
Our friend has a son a year ahead and he has the exact same 529 plan. He warned me that he got hit with a small tax penalty when he withdrew the money to his account and not to an account in his son's name.
I called the 529 administrator and they said it shouldn't matter either way. Other online blogs agree. They say the only difference is that my son would get the tax forms and have to file if it went to his account. Nevertheless, my friend did get a penalty. Any clarity would be appreciated!