Yes, earnings accumulate tax free while in the account, and no tax is due on a distribution that is used to pay higher education expenses. The beneficiary does not have to include any of the earnings from a 529 in income unless the amount distributed is greater than the beneficiary’s higher education expenses. However, contributions made to a 529 are not deductible on your federal tax return. Each state offers different tax incentives, and even matching programs. Check your state’s 529 plan Website for more specific state tax benefits to opening a 529 plan.