Colorado Probate Blog - Wade Ash Woods Hill & Farley, P.C.

Tax Update

This Tax Update article is authored by Laurie A. Hunter, Kevin D. Millard, Jonathan F. Haskell and Heidi J. Gassman.

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Congress Authorizes New Accounts for Disabled Individuals

Late December 16, 2014, Congress passed (and the President indicated he will sign) the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE), creating a new type of tax-advantaged savings account to help meet financial needs of disabled individuals and their families.  The ABLE Act authorizes states to create these accounts (similar to 529 plan accounts for paying higher education expenses) starting in 2015.  Persons could make contributions to the accounts for named beneficiaries, and the accounts grow tax-free, similar to 529 plan accounts.  The accounts would not be considered "available assets" that would limit a beneficiary's qualification for Medicaid or other needs-based government benefits. Contributions to an account each year are limited to the gift tax annual exclusion (not five times that, as for 529 plan accounts), and if distributions are made for "qualified disability expenses" the beneficiary is not taxed on the distributions as part of his or her income.  The beneficiary must be disabled or blind under Social Security, and that condition must have occurred before the beneficiary reached age 26.

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