US Savings Bonds

  1. What is a U.S. savings bond?
  2. How did the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) get the bonds?
  3. How do I claim a savings bond that is listed in the unclaimed property database?
  4. How do I cash a U.S. savings bond?
  5. Do I need to pay taxes on the interest income earned on the bond?

  1. What is a U.S. savings bond?

    U.S. savings bonds are non-marketable securities issued by the United States Treasury Department, typically identified by a series, such as EE, I, H, HH, Patriot Bonds, WWII War Bonds, etc. They are also considered a registered security--which means the person or beneficiaries named on the bond are the registered owners.

  2. How did the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) get the bonds?

    The bonds were reported to DOR as part of a safe deposit box where the owner did not pay the annual rental fee and the box was drilled open by the bank. Wisconsin's unclaimed property law requires financial institutions to turn the contents of the box over to DOR after five years of no contact with the owner.

  3. How do I claim a savings bond that is listed in the unclaimed property database?

    If you are the registered owner of the safe deposit box, you can submit a completed claim form and personal identification to claim the contents. If you are an heir of the owner or the named beneficiary of a bond, you are required to file a claim and provide identification, a death certificate for the owner and either a will or Declaration of Heirship. There may be other items in the safe deposit box that may be claimed along with the savings bonds. These items may require additional evidence of ownership rights.

  4. How do I cash a U.S. savings bond?

    Most financial institutions (banks, savings & loan associations, credit unions) are authorized redemption agents designated by the U.S. Treasury Department. However, some bonds may have to be submitted to a Federal Reserve Bank to receive payment. Please visit the U.S. Treasury Department website at www.treasurydirect.gov for bond status and value calculators and other comprehensive information regarding U.S. Savings Bonds.

  5. Do I need to pay taxes on the interest income earned on the bond?

    Because U.S. savings bonds are issued by the federal government you do not have to pay state tax or local taxes on the earned interest. However, all of the accumulated interest on U.S. savings bonds is taxable in the tax year they mature. This must be reported on your tax return. You will receive a Form 1099-INT tax notice in the tax year that the U.S. savings bonds are redeemed. Even if you do not receive a tax statement or Form 1099 you are still responsible for reporting all taxable interest income on your tax return. The IRS is notified electronically of all interest paid by financial institutions to bond holders. If you do not include your interest income on your tax return, you will be notified by the IRS, usually by mail, of the amount of additional tax, interest, and penalties you owe.

September 10, 2013