Bill seeks Section 529 tweak to cover tech purchases

U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) voiced support for legislation on Wednesday that revives and permanently extends a tax benefit that assists with the purchase of computers and other technology for college needs.

“As we look to make college more affordable for middle- and low-income students, we should identify creative and cost-efficient ways to do so,” Boustany said.

Section 529 of the U.S. Tax Code gives states the authority to create tax-free college-savings plans. Computer equipment and other technology expenses were covered under a 529 plan through a temporary provision in 2009 and 2010, but this permission expired after 2010. Congress has not acted to renew the provision.

Approximately 85 percent of 529 plans are owned by families that earn less than $250,000 annually, and 52 percent are owned by families earning less than $100,000, the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) said. The JCT also said 75 percent of tax-free earnings and 72 percent of distributions from 529 plans are held by families that make less than $250,000.

“This provision encourages the proliferation of technology in the classroom while improving affordability for students who want to succeed,” Boustany said. “That’s a win-win. I’m proud to support this legislation and will continue looking for ways to make college more affordable for all Americans.”