A distribution from an education savings account (ESA) that is used to pay for qualified education expenses at an eligible education institution. Generally, qualified education expenses are those required for the enrollment or attendance of the designated beneficiary at an eligible educational institution. For purposes of Coverdell ESAs, the expenses can be either qualified higher education expenses or qualified elementary and secondary education expenses.
The designated beneficiary is the child for whom the ESA is established.
IRC §530, IRS Publication 970
Additional Helpful Information
Assets in an ESA must be fully distributed within 30 days after the designated beneficiary reaches age30. The assets can be rolled over or transferred to an eligible family member who is under age 30.
The age 30 rule does not apply to ‘special needs’ beneficiaries.
For nonqualified distributions, the earnings are subject to taxes and the 10% early distribution penalty.