My daughter is the beneficiary of a 529 plan. The plan owner is an irrevocable trust in which I'm the trustee. I received a bill from the college in December 2016 for the 2017 spring semester. I made a withdrawal (to the account owner) in late December, but I didn't pay the school until January 6, 2017. I called the school and they said that the 1098-T should show the amounts for both the fall 2016 and the spring 2017 tuition.
1) Will the fact that the 1098-T shows both 2016 (fall) and 2017 (spring) charges be at all helpful in avoiding taxes/penalties for non-qualified withdrawals?
2) Is there any way to get out of the tax penalty that will result from me paying in 2017 while making the withdrawal in December 2016?
3) For a trust which has to file a 1041 each year, is there a way to take advantage of any federal education tax credits? Is it more advantageous for me, as an individual, to own the 529 instead of the trust?
Thanks for the help!