Offer your employees the free, voluntary benefit of saving for college with a 529 via employee payroll direct deposit. This is not a payroll deduction; it’s simply a direct payroll deposit, just like you probably already do for them.
Contribute to your employees’ 529 accounts
If you are interested in contributing directly to your employees’ accounts, you will qualify for a Colorado corporate tax credit.
Frequently asked questions about our employer program
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 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.
What our partners are saying
“Denver Health is committed to supporting the financial wellness of our employees and CollegeInvest is a vital part of that. Thankfully, CollegeInvest makes it so easy!”
– Tracy Shea, Well-Being Strategist – Denver Health Workplace
“Free starter accounts and free food were icing on the cake at our informative lunch and learn.”
– Shannon Avery, HR Director – Caliber MidStream
“Clear Creek County has been offering CollegeInvest to our employees for 7 years and I can count on one hand the number of hours we’ve spent administering it. Not only does this benefit free up my time, it is free!”
– Cate Gremillion, HR Manager – Clear Creek County
“Kaylynn, our contact, has always provided exceptional customer service in being flexible to meet our schedules and always professional to our employees in the sessions and through follow up contacts. We greatly appreciate our long-term partnership!”
– Dana Roggensack, Sr. HR Business Partner – Jefferson County Human Resources
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.