The U.S. Savings Bond Tax Trap | Checking Maturity Dates (2024)

Did you buy U.S. Savings Bonds decades ago?Or did your parents or grandparents purchase some for you?If so, take a look at them before April 15 rolls around. Your bonds may have matured. That means they are no longer earning interest, and it also means you need to cash them in.1

Check those maturity dates.Sometimes people hold U.S. Savings Bonds past the date of final maturity, often by accident. The old bonds are simply stashed away somewhere and forgotten.

While the Treasury will not penalize you for holding a U.S. Savings Bond past its date of maturity, the Internal Revenue Service will. Interest accumulated over the life of a U.S. Savings Bond must be reported on your 1040 form for the tax year in which you redeem the bond or it reaches final maturity. This must be done even if you (or the original bondholder) chose to have the interest on the bond accumulate tax-deferred until the final maturity date. Failure to report such interest may lead to a federal tax penalty.2

You are supposed to pay tax on a U.S. Savings Bond in one of two ways.Most bondholders choose to defer the tax until the bond matures. Once they redeem the bond, they report the interest through a 1099-INT form. Others choose to pay the tax annually prior to cashing the bond in, reporting the increase in the value of the bond as taxable interest each year.2,3

What if you find out you have held a U.S. Savings Bond for too long?You need to amend your federal tax return for the year in which the bond reached final maturity. You can file an amended return with the help of IRS Form 1040X. It may seem more logical and less arduous to report the forgotten, accumulated U.S. Savings Bond interest on yourlatestfederal tax return, but the IRS does not want you to do that. The longer you leave the accumulated interest unreported, the greater the chance you will be cited for a tax penalty (or assessed a larger one than the one already in store for you).2

Another note about reporting interest: if a U.S. Savings Bond has matured andyou have failed to redeem it,youwill not finda Form 1099-INT for it in your records. Only redemption will bring that 1099-INT your way. (The accumulated interest for the bond should have been reported to the IRS regardless.) After you cash in that old bond, you will thereafter receive a 1099-INT. It will record that the interest on the bond was earned in the year of the bond’s final maturity.2

Plan ahead & keep track.U.S.Savings Bonds were issued on paper for decades and were often purchased on behalf of children and grandchildren. They are issued electronically now and receive little recognition, yet they can still prove quite useful to a retiree looking to improve cash flow. When you cash in a bond, or even multiple bonds, the “cash infusion” may help you put off withdrawing assets from another retirement account. While the interest on U.S. Savings Bonds is taxed by the IRS, it is exempt from state and local taxes.4

You want to keep track of the maturity dates, the yields and the interest rates on your bonds, as that will help you to figure out what bond to redeem when. A decades-oldU.S.Savings Bond may cash out at anywhere from three to nine times its face value at full maturity.4

A useful search tool.Do you own a Series E U.S. Savings Bond? You might want to check on its maturity date at savingsbonds.gov/indiv/tools/tools_treasuryhunt.htm, which provides records of Series E bonds issued since 1974.5

Greg Ferguson may be reached at 952-406-8316 or greg@fergfin.com.

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This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Citations.

1 – treasurydirect.gov/indiv/research/securities/res_securities_stoppedearninginterest.htm [3/2/15]

2 – budgeting.thenest.com/penalty-savings-bond-past-final-maturity-31113.html [3/18/15]

3 – irs.gov/publications/p550/ch01.html#en_US_2014_publink10009895 [2014]

4 – usatoday.com/story/money/columnist/tompor/2014/01/26/did-you-cash-those-savings-bonds-you-got-as-a-kid/4824631/ [1/26/14]

5 – treasurydirect.gov/indiv/tools/tools_treasuryhunt.htm [9/19/14]

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The U.S. Savings Bond Tax Trap | Checking Maturity Dates (2024)

FAQs

What is the maturity date of a US Savings Bond? ›

U.S. Savings Bonds mature after 20 or 30 years, depending on the type of bond: Series EE bonds mature after 20 years. They are sold at half their face value and are worth their full value at maturity. Series I bonds are sold at face value and mature after 30 years.

How do you avoid tax on a mature savings bond? ›

You can skip paying taxes on interest earned with Series EE and Series I savings bonds if you're using the money to pay for qualified higher education costs. That includes expenses you pay for yourself, your spouse or a qualified dependent. Only certain qualified higher education costs are covered, including: Tuition.

What happens to EE bonds after 30 years? ›

EE bonds earn interest until the first of these events: You cash in the bond or it reaches 30 years old. Therefore, many of these bonds have stopped earning interest. If you moved your EE bond into a TreasuryDirect account, we pay you for the bond as soon as it reaches 30 years and stops earning interest.

How much is a $100 series EE bond worth after 30 years? ›

How to get the most value from your savings bonds
Face ValuePurchase Amount30-Year Value (Purchased May 1990)
$50 Bond$100$207.36
$100 Bond$200$414.72
$500 Bond$400$1,036.80
$1,000 Bond$800$2,073.60

When should I cash in my US savings bonds? ›

You can get your cash for an EE or I savings bond any time after you have owned it for 1 year. However, the longer you hold the bond, the more it earns for you (for up to 30 years for an EE or I bond). Also, if you cash in the bond in less than 5 years, you lose the last 3 months of interest.

Is there a penalty for not cashing in matured EE savings bonds? ›

While the Treasury will not penalize you for holding a U.S. Savings Bond past its date of maturity, the Internal Revenue Service will. Interest accumulated over the life of a U.S. Savings Bond must be reported on your 1040 form for the tax year in which you redeem the bond or it reaches final maturity.

Do you pay tax when a bond matures? ›

Owners can wait to pay the taxes when they cash in the bond, when the bond matures, or when they relinquish the bond to another owner. Alternatively, they may pay the taxes yearly as interest accrues. 1 Most owners choose to defer the taxes until they redeem the bond.

Do you pay income taxes on EE bonds when cashed? ›

I cashed some Series E, Series EE, and Series I savings bonds. How do I report the interest? In general, you must report the interest in income in the taxable year in which you redeemed the bonds to the extent you did not include the interest in income in a prior taxable year.

Do I pay taxes on I bonds if I don't cash out? ›

Holding I Bonds Until Maturity

If you keep the I bonds through the date they mature, generally 30 years, and you didn't otherwise include the interest income in a prior year, you will be taxed on all the accrued but previously untaxed interest in the year of maturity, whether or not you cash them in.

Do EE bonds really double in 20 years? ›

EE bonds you buy now have a fixed interest rate that you know when you buy the bond. That rate remains the same for at least the first 20 years. It may change after that for the last 10 of its 30 years. We guarantee that the value of your new EE bond at 20 years will be double what you paid for it.

How long does it take for a $100 EE savings bond to mature? ›

All Series EE bonds reach final maturity 30 years from issue. Series EE savings bonds purchased from May 1995 through April 1997 increase in value every six months.

Can you still cash EE bonds at a bank? ›

Where do I cash in a savings bond? You can cash paper bonds at a bank or through the U.S. Department of the Treasury's TreasuryDirect website. Not all banks offer the service, and many only provide it if you are an account holder, according to a NerdWallet analysis of the 20 largest U.S. banks.

How much is a $50 Patriot bond worth after 20 years? ›

After 20 years, the Patriot Bond is guaranteed to be worth at least face value. So a $50 Patriot Bond, which was bought for $25, will be worth at least $50 after 20 years. It can continue to accrue interest for as many as 10 more years after that.

Are EE bonds ever worth more than face value? ›

The bond isn't worth its face value until it matures. (The U.S. Treasury Department no longer issues EE bonds in paper form.) Electronic Series EE Bonds are sold at face value and are worth their full value when available for redemption.

Do I bonds double in 30 years? ›

EE Bond and I Bond Differences

The interest rate on EE bonds is fixed for at least the first 20 years, while I bonds offer rates that are adjusted twice a year to protect from inflation. EE bonds offer a guaranteed return that doubles your investment if held for 20 years. There is no guaranteed return with I bonds.

What is the final maturity of a $100 savings bond? ›

Savings bonds are a government-backed, reliable investment that earn interest, reaching full maturity after 30 years.

How long does it take for a $50 savings bond to mature? ›

Key points. Series EE bonds mature in 20 years but earn interest for up to 30 years. The U.S. Treasury guarantees Series EE bonds will double in value in 20 years. You don't receive the interest on your Series EE bond until you cash it.

How much is a $50 savings bond worth? ›

Total PriceTotal ValueTotal Interest
$50.00$69.94$19.94

Do savings bonds double every 10 years? ›

Series EE savings bonds are a low-risk way to save money. They earn interest regularly for 30 years (or until you cash them if you do that before 30 years). For EE bonds you buy now, we guarantee that the bond will double in value in 20 years, even if we have to add money at 20 years to make that happen.

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