Everything You Need to Know About Cashing in Your U.S. Government Bond

Rather than spending a large sum of money on a risky investment, a savings bond is the ideal investment solution. When purchased, these bonds, or notes, are given a redemption date in which one is able to claim the return within a couple days of the the given time. The issuance of these bonds vary from small to large institutions. But before running to cash in these bonds, consider the following.

Institutional Obligations

When one arrives at a financial institution with the purpose to cash in a bond, the institution must comply. As long as the individual brings the proper identification and the actual, intact bond (not a copy and not damaged) then the institution will grant the mature amount of the money. In the case of a minor possessing a bond, a parent, legal guardian, or beneficiary has the right to cash in the bond. Those unable to cash in a bond in the case of a minor includes a power of attorney and/or step parents.

The Time to Cash in Bonds

The most common type of bond is called a Series EE Bond. This bond boasts a thirty year interest-earning period. Once the allotted time passes, the bond will no longer continue to earn interest; the amount will be frozen at its maximum limit. Conclusively, Series EE Bonds before and including the year 1987 have reached their maturity and should be cashed now.

The next series, Series E Bonds, were established in 1941 and concluded in 1980. These bonds have ceased to earn interest, and therefore they should now be cashed as well.

Recently, the Series I Bond has been the more commonly distributed. During the thirty year interest-earning period, they combine a fixed rate as well as a rate that adjusts to inflation. Series I Bonds began in 1998, so the earliest ones are able to be cashed in by the year 2028.

According to the U.S. Treasury Department, billions of dollars of bonds are said to still be unclaimed to this day. Therefore, it would be advantageous to simply check on the status of one's bond. For many Americans possessing bonds, they have money just laying on the table. In the case that a bond has been lost amongst generations, or other similar scenarios, there is a website, Treasury Hunt, that aids in the search for the lost bond. The website contains information of those who purchased Series E Bonds after 1974 and Series EE Bonds after 1980. Treasury Hunt only lists the bond if it has reached maturity. Additionally, the website will describe how to go about the reclaiming the bond.

The Worth of Bonds

There are multiple calculators on the internet to find the amount of money earned on a bond. However, one will need a certain amount of information in order to calculate the worth of a bond. This information includes the type of denomination, the type of bond, and the date of issue. For the calculation, the serial number will not be needed.

A couple examples of the worth of bonds include: a Series EE Bond purchased for $25.00 in 1982 can be cashed out for a sum around $147.00, and the same bond purchased at a price of $100.00 in 1984 will be worth somewhere in the ballpark of $230.00.

The Cashing In Process

Although most banks will redeem bonds, some will not. It would be ideal to call ahead and see which banks will accept a bond or not. Also, when a bond is cashed it is completely susceptible to federal income taxes. State and local taxes are not usually taken out of the bond. Bonds can be reported yearly on one's taxes, or it can simply be reported on a 1099-INT form the year it is redeemed.


During its interest-earning period, bonds may not appear attractive to the holders. Once they do reach maturity, however, they suddenly become much more agreeable. Before taking them to the bank, it would be ideal to check an online calculator to estimate the bond's worth. Once the amount is estimated, and it is incredibly tempting to turn that old piece of paper into a liquid asset, contact a local bank and express interest in redeeming a bond.

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