Savings Bonds

What Is The Best Way To Cash In Savings Bonds?

savings bonds

You finally decided to cash in those old savings bonds that you had stashed away. Read this first.

Before you do anything, use a complimentary bond calculator that includes a printable Savings Bonds Inventory Report indicating cash in values, total interest earned amounts plus additional pertinent financial information including a helpful  “what this means to you” explanation.  It is essentially a quick education on what the bonds are currently worth (which can be a lot more than the face amount) and the total interest you will have to report on your Federal Income Tax Return. It will also indicate (in red) if any have stopped earning interest along with maturity and taxation information.

Savings Bonds are not subject to state and local taxes.

The easiest way to cash in a savings bond is to bring it to your local bank (best if you have an existing account there). Call the bank to determine if they handle redemptions  and any single limits, as well as maximum daily cash-in amounts they allow.

Many banks no longer handle bond transactions. If you don’t have an account with a bank that does handle redemptions, call and ask about non-customer maximum daily redemption limits (usually up to $1,000) and any other required ID documentation (such as drivers license or passport). Also bring:

  • The actual bonds you want to cash-in
  • Bond Inventory Report (optional – great cash-in verification report)
  • Proof of identity (ask bank about their required documentation – banks vary)
  • Certified Death Certificate for bond owner – if you are named as beneficiary (aka POD)

Note: Individual paper bonds can not be split, they must be redeemed for the full amount. For electronic bonds, go to Treasury Direct for information.

Regardless of where you redeem paper bonds, if you are not the person listed as either the owner, co-owner or beneficiary on that bond, you will have to show proof you are entitled to cash it in.

Savings bonds cannot be transferred. They must be re-titled or registered into that person’s name (which could create a taxable event for the person removing their name off the bond) using form FS4000. Paper bonds are now only reissued in electronic format (which requires an online Treasury Direct account).

Note: Cashing in at a bank is much quicker and easier. However, if the bank cannot cash in the bond(s), they may require that you mail the bonds into the Treasury Department. You will need to complete a signed FS Form 1522. Make sure the signature is certified (i.e notary). It can takes weeks before you receive the proceeds when mailing the bonds into the Treasury Department.

Important:  Paper bonds can not be split (or partially redeemed).  They will be cashed in for the full face amount. If you have any older, or any larger denomination bonds, this could result in a lot of interest income that will need to be reported on a tax report. Always use a calculator to learn total interest earned amounts BEFORE cashing in. Once a bond is redeemed the transaction can not be reversed.

U.S. Savings Bonds are NOT subject to state and local taxes.

Cashing In Bonds = 1099-INT

If you own PAPER savings bonds, the redeeming bank or financial institution will issue a 1099-INT.  It will be issued either on the spot or will be mailed to you in the first few months following the year the bond was redeemed (for any interest income over $10.00).

If you redeem electronic savings bonds, you will have to go into your online Treasury Direct account and print out the 1099-INT yourself.

If you redeemed electronic bonds, either print out the 1099-INT immediately after redemption, or keep a reminder note to print out the form when preparing your Federal Income Tax Returns.

For both paper and electronic savings bonds, the 1099-INT interest income information will also be supplied to the Internal Revenue Service. You will need to include this amount in the “ordinary income” section on your Federal Income Tax Return.

About SavingsBonds.com:

Our savings bond calculator provides cash in values, interest rates and a personalized, printable, color-coded, Savings Bond Inventory Report along with a “What This Means To You” explanation. For ongoing savings bond management & updated bond values via unique monthly e-Bond Statements with savings bond interest rates, try a free 14-day trial of the SavingsBonds.com VIP Membership which includes a helpful Cash-In-Report.

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