As the post-pandemic business world reopens, many employers are seeking benefits that really matter to their employees. Employees are stressed more than ever about finances, which leads to a reduction in productivity, job satisfaction and can create mental health stress.
Making a meaningful difference in your employees’ lives
Create an account
Click the button below to start the two-minute enrollment process. You will need:
- Company name, address and contact info
- Your company’s SSN / TIN
Educate your staff
Plan a time for an employee lunch & learn or webinar – paid for and hosted by CollegeInvest.
Collect employee info
Your employees will provide you with their CollegeInvest account number(s) to enter into your Employer portal account.
Record your contributions. You can fund your contribution via Check, ACH or Wire Transfer. We’ll provide you instructions.
Important Employer Contribution note:
Colorado companies: To ensure your Employer tax credit can be validated with the Colorado Department of Revenue, companies must record their contributions via the CollegeInvest Employer portal and funds must be sent directly to CollegeInvest headquarters in Denver.
Contributions sent directly to an employee’s account, while still eligible, may trigger a state audit.
Employer contributions not for you?
No worries. Many businesses simply offer 529s as a free voluntary benefit. Click below to learn how we’ll educate your employees about saving for college and how to start saving on their own.
Frequently asked questions about our employer program
What tax form do I need to claim my credit?
Form DR 0289, titled Employer Contributions to Employee 529 Qualified State Tuition Program, can be found at https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/tax/credit-subtraction-forms near the bottom under Other Forms.
Why should I add this as a new benefit?
Colorado families tell us that they’re already saving as much as they possibly can. And 93% of them wish their employer would help. Meaningful benefits DO make a difference in retaining your employees.
How does the tax credit work?
For every dollar an employer contributes to an employee’s CollegeInvest 529 account, the employer receives a 20% tax credit, up to a maximum of $500 per employee per year. So, an employer could give up to $2,500 per employee and receive $500 for each person. Read the official tax law here.
How much can I contribute?
There is no limit to what you can contribute, however, the tax credit will max out at $2,500 per employee, per year.
Is there a minimum number of employees needed to participate?
No. Any size company can participate.
If I contribute to one employee’s account, do I have to contribute to all my employees’ accounts?
No. This program is not subject to the nondiscrimination rule or the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).
As a small business owner, can I contribute to my own account through my business?
Yes, there are no restrictions on the type (S-Corp, LLC, etc.) or size of employer. Whether the new business tax credit or the traditional, personal dollar-for-dollar deduction is more advantageous to you will depend on your particular business operations. We encourage you to consult with a tax professional for advice.
For payroll purposes, is this counted as wages to the employee?
Yes, and it is subject to taxes and withholdings, just as their salary is.
What if my employee is not the Account Owner?
The law specifies that in order for a business to receive the tax credit, the contribution must be made to an employee’s account. If, for instance, your employee’s spouse is the account owner, this will not meet the standard of the tax law. So, have your employee open a new account in their name at https://www.collegeinvest.org/enroll-529-savings-plan/.
How long will it take until an employee receives my contribution into their account? And how long until the funds are vested?
Deposits will show up approximately two weeks from the date we receive your funds. They are fully vested immediately.
Is there an enrollment period to sign up?
No, you can enroll and start contributing any time at employers.collegeinvest.org.
What is the best way to implement this new program?
It’s completely up to you. Some employers are doing a 529 Match, others are contributing as a bonus or when an employee has a new baby or work anniversary. There are many creative ways to contribute. Here are some suggestions.
What information do I need to enroll my company?
You will need basic information, such as company address, contact info and SSN/TIN. You will also need to select the month that your company’s fiscal year ends. You may also add an optional secondary contact.
When I add an employee in order to record a contribution, I’m asked for their account number. Where do I find this information?
Your employees need to provide you with their CollegeInvest account number(s). For privacy reasons, CollegeInvest cannot provide you with this information. If your employee does not know their account number, have them call us directly at 800-448-2424 and we will help them locate it.
How do I record a contribution?
Once you’ve entered an Employee (Employees menu, Add Employee) into the system, simply select their name, click on the “Record Contribution” button and fill in the amount you want to contribute. You have the option of funding the contribution via Check, ACH or Wire Transfer. Funding instructions will be emailed to you upon recording of your contribution.
How do I search for a contribution I recorded?
You can search for contributions under Contributions, Contribution Management. There you have the ability to search by employee name, date and account number.
How do I know if I already entered an employee into the system?
The Employee Management screen (Employees menu) will allow you to search employees by name or account number.
What if an employee has more than one CollegeInvest account?
There is no limit on the number of accounts an employee can have. You’ll enter each account separately, as if you are entering each one as a new employee. You can split your contribution among more than one account, if you wish.
How frequently can I contribute?
As often, and whenever, you want.
How do I pull a year-end report for taxes?
From the Reports menu, you can access a fiscal year-end report that will detail all contributions made that year, detailed by employee.
What is the process for my company to claim the 20% tax credit for contributions?
Employers must complete Form DR 0289, titled Employer Contributions to Employee 529 Qualified State Tuition Program. The form can be found at https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/tax/credit-subtraction-forms near the bottom under Other Forms.
How do I change the SSN/TIN on my account profile?
Give us a call at 303-376-8813 and we will make that change for you.
How long will it take until an employee receives my contribution in to their account?
Generally, approximately two weeks from the date we receive your funds.
I don’t think I have time or bandwidth to offer this. What, exactly, is required of me?
We know you are busy, and we make it very quick and easy:
- Schedule a day and time for your Lunch & Learn; reserve a room for our meeting.
- Send out the provided invitation to your staff, and request them to RSVP.
- Give us a headcount for lunch the day before we come out. There is no administration; no paperwork. And we handle all follow-up/enrollment questions directly.
What does this program cost?
There is no cost at all to you, or your employees. We provide lunch and all materials. This is a free service offered through the State of Colorado.
What, exactly, are you selling?
As a not-for-profit State agency, CollegeInvest doesn’t sell anything. Our Lunch & Learn presentations are purely educational and designed to benefit your employees.
How does the direct deposit work?
It is a post-tax direct deposit from an employee’s paycheck, directly into their 529 account. Think of it like the standard direct deposit; it is NOT a payroll deduction. When an employee opens a 529, they receive an account number and a routing number. They provide this information, along with the amount they’d like to have deposited from each paycheck, to your payroll department. In the event your company has self-portals where employees manage their benefits themselves, then you don’t have any involvement at all.
What about our out-of-state employees?
Anyone can open and contribute to a CollegeInvest 529, regardless of which state they live in. Non-residents will not receive the Colorado state income tax deduction, but they will still enjoy the federal tax-free growth. We have tools and resources available to help your employees in other states take advantage of the best plan for them, if it’s a Colorado plan or one from their home state.
Do you require a minimum number of people for a lunch & learn? I’m not sure how much interest there is among our employees.
This is a common concern we hear. Rest assured, we want to support your employees regardless of the size of your group. Just reach out to us and we’ll work with you to figure it out.
How long is your presentation?
We usually ask you allow one hour for the presentation and Q & A. If you need us to customize the time for you, that’s no problem.
We have several different shifts which makes it difficult to get everyone together at once for an info session.
No worries - we’ll host as many lunch & learns for as many shifts as you need.
Our company doesn’t host lunch & learns. Are there other ways to spread the word in our organization?
Absolutely. We often participate in enrollment meetings, benefit fairs, quarterly staff meetings, etc.
We have employees working remotely. Do you offer webinars so they can be included?
We do! We often host a lunch & learn on-site and then a follow-up webinar for employees who were unable to attend in-person. You can schedule a webinar here.
What our partners are saying
“I’ve been saving for college for my kids with CollegeInvest since they were little, so I jumped at the chance to contribute to my employees’ accounts. The program fits perfectly with my company’s family-first philosophy. The smiles on my employees’ faces is worth more to me than the tax credit my company gets for contributing to their accounts”
– Brett Grischo, CEO/Founder – Explore Communications
“We are competing for the best employees in a tight Colorado workforce. Having meaningful benefits helps us attract and retain top talent. That’s why contributing to our employees’ CollegeInvest accounts is a no-brainer.”
– Derek Dykstra, President & CEO – Gracon LLC
“CollegeInvest has given our employees an easy way to save for college expenses for themselves and family members. Our employees have appreciated the simplicity and the different investment options for their college saving needs. I personally have used Collegeinvest for my twins that are currently in college. This program has been a powerful savings tool for my family to manage college investments with the bonus of saving on state taxes.”
– Susan Dobbs, Asst. Director – Anythink
Get in touch
Fill out the form below to have one of our Employer Program team members contact you directly. We look forward to partnering with you to make a difference in your employees’ lives.