Many people stash savings bonds in a file folder or a sock drawer and forget about them. In fact, millions of matured savings bonds are yet to be redeemed, even though it takes relatively little effort to redeem them. Before you begin the process of cashing in your bonds, take into account their current interest rate, which may offer you a higher return on your investment that other investment vehicles. Remember that you must also report the interest income on your taxes.
Check the value of your savings bonds. The United States government website TreasuryDirect provides four tools you can use to determine the current value of savings bonds. The savings bond calculator is an online tool. The savings bond wizard is a free program you can download. The savings bond value files consist of tables for pricing savings bonds. The simplified savings bond redemption tables are another downloadable tool.
Consult the date of purchase and the maturity date. If you or someone else purchased the savings bonds after February 1, 2003, you need to wait a year before cashing in the bonds.
Assemble necessary records. To redeem electronic savings bonds, log in to the TreasuryDirect website and be ready to provide identification, serial number and your bank account information. To redeem savings bonds at a participating bank, you will need to provide proof of your identity, such as a valid driver's license or passport.
Note the limitations. If you plan to cash your savings bonds at a local bank and you are not a customer of the bank, or have been a customer for less than six months, you can only cash $1,000 worth of bonds in a single transaction.
Procure the receipts for your transaction. When you redeem a savings bond, you typically have to pay taxes on the interest income. You should receive the IRS Form 1099-INT, either after your transaction or at the conclusion of the tax year.
- If your name is not on the savings bond, you must have proof that you have a right to cash them. These cases often arise in the case of inherited bonds or bonds belonging to young children.
Nina Makofsky has been a professional writer for more than 20 years. She specializes in art, pop culture, education, travel and theater. She currently serves as a Mexican correspondent for "Aishti Magazine," covering everything from folk art to urban trends. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Mills College.