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FAQs Concerning the Change in the Annual Purchase Limit for Savings Bonds

What is the annual purchase limit for U.S. Savings Bonds?

Effective January 4, 2012, the annual (calendar year) purchase limit applying to electronic Series EE and Series I savings bonds is $10,000 for each series. The limit is applied per Social Security Number (SSN) or Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN). For paper Series I Savings Bonds purchased through IRS tax refunds, the purchase limit is $5,000 per SSN.

Why is there a purchase limit on savings bonds?

The purpose of the savings bonds program is to provide individuals with a way to save or invest relatively small amounts of money in non-marketable Treasury securities. Individuals with saving or investment needs in excess of the savings bond purchase limit who desire the safety and stability of Treasury securities may purchase marketable Treasury securities (bills, notes, bonds and inflation-protected TIPS), which are currently available through TreasuryDirect (and from securities dealers and brokers) in $100 increments. Because there are significant differences in the ways non-marketable and marketable securities earn interest, are purchased and redeemed, etc., savers and investors should carefully compare the terms of the securities, and their personal investment needs, prior to purchase.

How does the limit apply to bonds held in co-ownership form?

The limit applies to the SSN of the first-named registrant of a savings bond. This registrant is considered the primary owner of the bond, whether it is issued in paper or electronic form. The second-named registrant may purchase additional securities, up to the annual limit, if that registrant is the primary owner of the additional bonds.

Is the purchase limit cumulative?

No. The limit applies only to bonds purchased in a single calendar year. There is no limit on the total value of savings bonds that can be held by an individual or entity.

I'm buying bonds for myself and my children through my TreasuryDirect account. How does the limit apply to these purchases?

You can buy up to $10,000 each year of electronic Series EE and I bonds in TreasuryDirect on which you are the primary owner, plus up to the limit of each series in the name of each child for whom you've established a linked account in the child's name as primary owner. Minor linked accounts are sub-accounts of your own master account, but do not provide you with ownership rights to securities held in the linked sub-accounts. View more information on linked accounts.

Do bonds I've bought as gifts through TreasuryDirect but have not yet delivered to the gift recipient apply against my annual limit?

No. Gift bonds are purchased in the name and SSN of the gift recipient. They do not count against your annual limit even if you have purchased them through your TreasuryDirect account but have not yet delivered them. Gift purchases in TreasuryDirect count toward the annual limit of the recipient in the year they are delivered.

I'm having more than $10,000 a year taken out of my pay to purchase savings bonds. How will this change affect my payroll savings deductions?

You will need to adjust your payroll deductions downward to a level that does not exceed $10,000 per series in a single calendar year.

Does the change in annual limit restrict my ability to convert my paper bonds to TreasuryDirect?

No. There is no limit on how many previously-issued paper bonds can be converted to electronic securities in your TreasuryDirect account in a single year.

Where can I purchase savings bonds?

Series EE and Series I savings bonds can be purchased in electronic form directly from the Treasury Department by opening a TreasuryDirect account. View more information on savings bonds and how to open a TreasuryDirect account.   Paper Series I Savings Bonds can be purchased with your IRS tax refund.