EE and E Savings Bonds FAQs

Can a savings bond be too old to be cashed?

No.  Even if far beyond its maturity date, a savings bond can be cashed.

If I cash my bonds by mail, using FS Form 1522, must I have my signature certified?

It depends. If the current redemption value of your bonds totals $1,000 or less, you can send us a copy of your driver's license, passport, state ID, or military ID instead.

What should I do if my paper savings bond has been lost, stolen, or destroyed?

Fill out and sign FS Form 1048 (download or order) according to the form's instructions and mail it to the address provided on the form.

We need the following information before searching for the record of your bond :

  • Bond serial number -- If you don't have the bond serial number, provide all of the following:
    • Specific month and year of purchase
    • Complete Social Security Number (for example 123-45-6789)
    • Names, including middle names or initials
    • Address (street, city, state)

We can replace your savings bonds if we can establish that a person entitled to cash the bonds hasn't done so. See Replacing or Reissuing a Lost or Destroyed Paper EE Bond.

If my paper EE Bond contains a misspelling, incorrect address, or incorrect Social Security Number do I need to get this corrected?

  • Misspelled Name -- EE bonds don't need to be reissued to correct small typographical errors in names. The bond needs to be reissued if the error is significant enough to prevent the bond owner from cashing it. To get a bond reissued, Fill out and sign FS Form 4000 (download or order) as indicated on the form and mail it with the bonds to the the address provided on the form.
  • Incorrect Address -- EE bonds don't need to be reissued to correct the address that appears on the bonds.
  • Incorrect Social Security Number -- EE bonds don't need to be reissued to correct a Social Security Number. The Social Security Number does not establish ownership or tax liability. It's used to find savings bond records if, for example, the bonds are lost and the owner has not kept a record of serial numbers. Be sure to keep a record of all your bonds including serial numbers.

    On any paper savings bonds issued on August 1, 2006, or later the first five digits of your Social Security number or Employer Identification number are masked and replaced with asterisks. This was done to protect your privacy and to prevent the information from being used for identity theft.

If I change, add, or remove names from the registration of my bonds, will this change the issue date?

No. Updates made to the names in the bond registration will not alter the issue date.
Note: The registration of bonds that have reached final maturity cannot be changed, as matured bonds are not eligible for reissue.

What is the Education Savings Bond Program?

Qualified taxpayers may be able to exclude all or part of the interest earned from eligible EE and I Bonds issued after 1989 when paying qualified higher education expenses. Bonds must be issued in the name of a taxpayer age 24 or older at the time of issuance. Other restrictions and income limits apply. See more details on the education tax exclusion or IRS Form 8815

What is the penalty if I cash my bond during the first 5 years?

If you cash a bond before it is 5 years old, you will forfeit the last 3 months' interest. And you can't cash a bond before it is 1 year old.

What are Patriot Bonds?

Patriot Bonds are paper EE bonds inscribed with the words "Patriot Bond."  We no longer sell them.

I'd like to buy a savings bond as a gift. What if I don't know the owner's Social Security Number?

To purchase an electronic savings bond as a gift, the TreasuryDirect account holder needs to know the recipient's full name and Social Security Number and/or taxpayer ID number. The gift bond is placed in the account holder's "Gift Box" until the account holder obtains the TreasuryDirect account number of the recipient and is ready to transfer the bond into the recipient's account.

When you buy savings bonds as gifts, you must hold them in your TreasuryDirect account for at least five business days before you can deliver them to the gift recipient. The five-day hold protects Treasury against loss by ensuring the ACH debit has been successfully completed before the funds can be moved.

The gift recipient will then receive an e-mail announcing the transfer of the bond.

I noticed savings bonds are being sold through auction sites such as eBay™, but I thought ownership was non-transferable. How does this work?

Savings bonds are sometimes sold as souvenirs or collectors' items. The sale doesn't affect the ownership of the savings bond, since by regulation, a savings bond is a registered security and ownership is non-transferable. The United States Treasury still has a contractual relationship with the owner or co-owners named on the bond, not the person who bought the bond at auction. Because of this, the person buying it at auction can't cash it--he's just purchased a piece of paper showing a bond that still is the property of the owner or co-owners named on the bond. In some cases, the bond may be the property of the United States Treasury, if it's a bond that was lost and has since been replaced. Bottom line: it's not a good idea to buy a savings bond at an auction, because you do not acquire any title to the bond or have any ownership rights.

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