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529 Withdrawal Question--Timing of Tuition Payment
I get that the 529 withdrawal needs to be made the same tax year as the qualified educational expenses are paid to avoid tax issues, etc.
So if spring semester tuition is due on 1/2/20 (with a late fee charged of the payment is not received by that date), when and how should one pay if one wants to use a 529?
There's no way to wait until 2020 and have the tuition sent/paid directly from the 529 as it would never get there in time. So, as I understand it, I will have to pay the tuition myself and get reimbursed from the 529, either by having a payment sent directly to me or else to the account beneficiary.
Should I pay spring 2020 tuition in December 2019 with the 529? Or does the qualified expense have to be incurred first, ex. would I have to wait until 2020 to pay the tuition?
Is there any downside to paying the spring 2020 tuition bill in 2019 with the 529?