How To Find & Cash In Your U.S. Savings Bonds

savings bonds

Did you know that the U.S. Treasury Department estimates that there are billions of dollars of unclaimed money out there in the form of savings bonds that haven’t been redeemed yet have stopped earning interest? Almost 36 million Americans are holding onto unclaimed bonds!

The majority of savings bonds take 30 years to mature, and because of the long timeframe it is all too common for individuals (or family members who purchase bonds for them) to forget about owning bonds.

Series EE Bonds were first issued in 1980 and they were designed to pay interest for up to 30 years. All bonds dated 1989 or earlier will have matured by the end of 2019. Once this date arrives, the value of the bond is frozen, so there is no more need to keep them. You can then cash them in and put the cash to a more productive use. Before the Series EE Bonds, people purchased Series E Savings Bonds which were issued from 1941 to 1980. The recent Series I Bonds were first issued in 1998 and these will mature in 2028 onwards.

How To Find U.S. Savings Bonds In Your Name

The most effective way to locate savings bonds is to fill out FS Form 1048, the Claim for Lost, Stolen, or Destroyed U.S. Savings Bonds. You’ll need to include all information that you know on the bond, indicate that it is lost, that you are listed on the bond, and if you prefer a substitute bond or have the current value of the bond deposited into your account.

The most important information that you’ll need to include in the form is the name the bond was purchased under, the address, and the Social Security number.

Once completed, you should then mail the form to the following addresses:

For HH or H Bonds

Treasury Retail Securities Site, P.O. Box 2186, Minneapolis, MN 55480-2186

For E, EE, or I Bonds

Treasury Retail Securities Site, P.O. Box 214, Minneapolis, MN 55480-0214

How To Cash In Your Savings Bond

Before deciding to cash in your U.S. savings bond, it’s important to check TreasuryDirect’s Savings Bond Calculator. You’ll find out whether the bond has reached full maturity as well as the current value. If your bonds haven’t reached full maturity yet, it’s best to leave it alone until then so you continue to earn interest.

The process of redeeming paper bonds is very straightforward. TreasuryDirect suggests calling your preferred bank because they don’t maintain a list of financial institutions who cash in bonds.

Savings-bond interest is subject to federal income tax, but not local or state tax. You can either wait until maturity and pay the tax all at once or report it now and pay tax every year that you hold the bond. Once redeemed, you’ll receive the IRS form 1099-INT, which reflects your taxable gain.