Columbia Wanger Offshore Funds

Effective 23 March 2012, the Wanger US Smaller Companies UCITS Fund and the Wanger European Smaller Companies UCITS Fund, managed by Columbia Wanger Asset Management, LLC, began trading as sub-funds on the MontLake UCITS Platform plc following the merger of the Wanger Investment Company into the MontLake structure.

For more information about the funds, please visit http://www.montlakeucits.com.

Online Help : 529 Plans

What is a 529 plan?

What if the beneficiary decides not to go to college?

Can I transfer the plan to another person?

What is considered a qualified higher education expense?

How can I change my beneficiary on a Future Scholar 529 Plan?

Can I have more than one account owner or more than one beneficiary?

What's the maximum or the minimum amount I can contribute to the account?

Who can contribute to 529 accounts, and are those people eligible for the tax deduction as well?

Am I guaranteed to make money on an investment in a 529 plan?

How do I get started?

What is a 529 plan?

A 529 college savings plan is an investment account opened by an adult for use toward qualified higher education expenses, usually for a child. The person opening the account can select a variety of investment portfolios made up of underlying mutual funds in which to place their assets.

Portfolios range from highly aggressive investment strategies to very conservative, giving account owners the flexibility to not only adjust strategies based on market performance of the underlying funds, but to also adapt the education savings to fit their own financial needs. If you invest in a plan sponsored by the state in which you file taxes, contributions to the accounts could be state tax deductible. Actual deduction amounts depend on the particular state and the rules set forth by their treasury.

See the Future Scholar 529 Plan available through Columbia Management.

For more information on federal and state tax treatment, refer to your particular state's program description or consult a tax advisor.

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What if the beneficiary decides not to go to college?

If a withdrawal from the account is not used for qualified higher education expenses, the earnings will be taxable at the account owner's current tax rate, and an additional 10% penalty on the earnings will be imposed by the IRS.

These assets can be transferred to another qualified family member without penalty. You can also use the assets for yourself as long as they are used for qualified higher education expenses.

For more information on federal and state tax treatment, refer to your particular state's program description or consult a tax advisor.

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Can I transfer the plan to another person?

Yes, a 529 plan may be transferred to another beneficiary as long as the new beneficiary is another family member, such as a sibling or parent or even the account owner themselves if they qualify until the funds are exhausted. The funds still must be used for that individual's higher education expenses for the earnings to be considered tax-free. If the beneficiary is changed to someone other than a qualified family member, then the change would be considered non-qualified and subject to taxes on earnings as well as a 10% penalty.

To transfer a Future Scholar 529 plan to another beneficiary, download the appropriate Designated Beneficiary Change Form under the Forms & Literature tab. For more information, refer to your 529 plan's program description or consult a tax advisor.

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What is considered a qualified higher education expense?

  • Tuition, fees, and the cost of books, supplies, and equipment required for the enrollment or attendance of a beneficiary at an eligible educational institution.
  • Certain costs of room and board incurred while attending an eligible educational institution at least half-time.
  • In the case of a special-needs beneficiary, expenses for special-needs services incurred in connection with enrollment or attendance at an eligible educational institution. If you can prove to your tax advisor that the expense was necessary for the beneficiary to attend that institution, it may be considered a qualified expense. However, we will process the distribution, qualified or not, and the account owner will be responsible for reporting the earnings and filing their taxes accordingly.

In advisor plans, any withdrawal could be subject to contingent deferred sales charges depending on the selected share class of the investment option.

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How can I change my beneficiary on a Future Scholar 529 plan?

You have the option to change the beneficiary on your Future Scholar 529 plan account as many times as desired until the funds are exhausted. Complete the Designated Beneficiary Change Form and mail it to us at the address provided on the form.

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Can I have more than one account owner or more than one beneficiary?

529 plans only allow for one account owner at a time, with a successor account owner listed to take over in the event the initial account owner is involved in a tragedy. There can only be one beneficiary designated for each account. However, you have the option to change the beneficiary on the account as many times as desired until the funds are exhausted.

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What's the maximum or the minimum amount I can contribute to a 529 account?

There are no yearly contributions limits, only overall account maximum contribution limits determined by the 529 plan's sponsoring state treasury. In other words, you can only contribute up to a certain amount over the life of the plan. The minimum investment amount is generally $50 per contribution according to most program descriptions, but the state treasuries determine these amounts as well. If you intend to set up automatic contributions from your bank account, $50 is also generally the minimum investment amount.

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Who can contribute to 529 accounts, and are those people eligible for the tax deduction as well?

Most states allow anyone to contribute to a 529 plan for a designated beneficiary, but other states require contributions to come from only the account owner. Review your program description for specifics.

Contributors other than the account owner are eligible for the deduction at the state level, provided they are contributing to a plan sponsored by the state in which they file taxes. Proof of contribution provided to the IRS or a tax advisor is required to remain eligible for the deduction.

Use our State Tax Deduction Calculator to find out if your state offers a deduction.

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Am I guaranteed to make money on an investment in a 529 plan?

No. Because 529 plans are investments, there is a certain amount of risk in each investment strategy, and no strategy guarantees the return of principle. Because the stock market, which makes up the core of these investment accounts, is volatile, no guarantee of principle or return can be provided. Unlike a guaranteed principle account with specific percentage of earnings, 529 plans earning figures fluctuate on a daily basis in correspondence with the performance of the underlying mutual funds in the portfolio.

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How do I get started?

Columbia Management offers the following 529 Plan:

Use our College Savings Calculators to determine an Education Funding Plan as well as the estimated future cost of a college education.

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Please consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses carefully before investing. Contact your financial advisor or visit columbiamanagement.com for a Program Description, which contains this and other important information about the Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan. Read it carefully before investing. You should also consider, before investing, whether the investor’s or designated beneficiary’s home state offers any state tax or other benefits that are only available for investments in such state’s qualified tuition program.