How to Calculate Coverdell ESA Basis

Step 1

Review your IRS Form 1099-Q, Payments From Qualified Education Programs (Under Sections 529 and 530). Your bank is legally required to provide you with a copy of the form by Jan. 31, annually.

Step 2

Review Box 3. Box 3 is your basis. Your basis will determine your income tax liabilities each year.

Step 3

Review Box 1. Box 1 reflects the total amount of your annual gross Coverdell ESA distributions.

Step 4

Calculate your income tax liabilities. You will pay taxes on the total amount of your distributions that exceed your qualified educational expenses annually.

Step 5

Use IRS Worksheet 7-3, Coverdell ESA -- Taxable Distributions and Basis. You can find this worksheet at the end of Chapter 7 in IRS Publication 970 (2010), "Tax Benefits for Education." Using the worksheet can reduce the opportunities for making mathematical mistakes in calculating your basis or the difference between your contributions and your qualified tuition expenses.