Making Tax Refunds Grow With Savings Bonds

Are you looking for a way to help the people you serve maximize their tax refunds?

If so, you may be interested to learn about a convenient savings option offered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Taxpayers may buy Series I Bonds, in amounts ranging from $50 to $5,000, with their annual tax refund by completing a single form – the "Allocation of Refund (Including Savings Bond Purchases)" IRS Form 8888. TreasuryDirect online account holders may deposit all or part of their tax returns into their TreasuryDirect accounts.

This is a safe and affordable way for tax refunds to compound over time, helping people save for the future, such as buying a house or paying for college. Series I Bonds offer many benefits, including:

  • An interest rate currently set at 1.76 percent.
  • Exemption from state and local income taxes.
  • Ability to be redeemed after 12 months of purchase (though it’s best to hold them for a minimum of five years to avoid any early redemption penalty).

What's more, interest earnings may be exempt from federal income taxes when the earnings are used to pay for qualified higher education expenses.

According to the Internal Revenue Service, more than 50 million tax refunds were issued in 2012, averaging $3,000 apiece. The 2013 tax season offers a perfect opportunity to get a jump on long-term savings goals.

Help spread the word about how using tax refunds to purchase savings bonds can help achieve greater financial security. The Treasury Department is offering resources to help you share tax refund savings information. Find sample newsletter copy, social media tips and a web banner on the Ready.Save.Grow. website.

  In The News
Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, "BEAM Sheds Light on Finanacial Literacy for Young Students")

Treasury Notes: Treasurer Rios Visits Classrooms of "Save Out Loud" Contest Winners

Prague Times-Herald Facebook Page Features "Save Out Loud" Grand Prize Winners

  Other News
Treasury, MyMoneyAppUp Partners Announce Winners of the App Design Challenge

MyMoneyAppUp Partners Announce Winners of the IdeaBank Challenge

Treasury Looks Back at 76 Years of Paper U.S. Savings Bonds - As Move to Online Savings Bonds to Save Taxpayers $120 Million

  Partner Tools/Resources
Tax Refund toolkit for nonprofit organizations

America Saves Week 2013 toolkit for nonprofit organizations

Toolkit for nonprofit organizations

Toolkit for employers

Toolkit for financial institutions

Current US Savings Bond Rates button

Ready.Save.Grow. Campaign Kick Offs America Saves Week 2013

The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Ready.Save.Grow. campaign proudly joins the ranks of the more than 1,000 nonprofits, government agencies and businesses participating in America Saves Week 2013.

America Saves Week—February 24 through March 2—promotes good savings behavior and offers people a chance to assess their saving status. Managed by the Consumer Federation of America, the event reaches millions of people each year.

The Ready.Save.Grow. campaign offers turn-key materials you can use to encourage your constituents to save, including newsletter copy, sample social media posts and a web banner. To access these resources, visit or click on the America Saves Week Toolkit link in the Partner Tools/Resources section of this newsletter.

"Save Out Loud" Contest Winners Receive Prizes and Skype Visits with Treasurer Rios

The Ready.Save.Grow. "Save Out Loud" Facebook contest, which encouraged students in grades K-12 to submit photo and video essays about saving, concluded in January with a series of virtual visits between the contest winners and Treasurer of the United States Rosie Rios.

Four grand-prize winners received personalized plaques that included a commemorative coin from the U.S. Mint, autographed dollar bills from Treasurer Rios, and miniature engraved Liberty Bells for their schools. Four popular-vote winners also received plaques.

In addition to the commemorative prizes, three of the grand-prize winners participated in special virtual classroom visits with Treasurer Rios:

  • Jeremy*, a student in Durham, N.C., joined a December 14 Skype session in recognition of his winning "Save for Art School" contest entry.
  • Christopher*, of Milwaukee, Wis., received a December 17 Skype session for his "Big Time Saver" entry.
  • Kolt, Dathan, Austin and Colin* of Prague, Okla., participated in a December 17 Skype session for their "Snuggies for Sandy Victims" submission.

During the virtual visits, Treasurer Rios congratulated the contest winners and answered questions from the students about her role as the Treasurer of the United States, her favorite part of her job, the Treasury Department's responsibilities and saving tips.

A fourth grand-prize winner, Michelle* of Millstone Township, N.J., had the opportunity to speak with Treasurer Rios in a one-on-one phone call on January 10 about her compelling savings story. Michelle called the experience "amazing."

The Ready.Save.Grow. campaign thanks its distinguished panel of judges and partner organizations for their support of the "Save Out Loud" contest and for helping communicate the value of starting to save at an early age.

*Last names, grade levels and school names withheld for privacy purposes.

Grand Prize: A Virtual Video Visit.Treasurer of the United States Rosie Rios displays a $100 bill bearing her signature to students at Rogers-Herr Middle School in Durham, NC, including Jeremy, whose video Saving for Art School won in the K-6 category. The Treasurer visited with Jeremy's class via Skype. Photo 7-12 category winners from Prague High School in Prague, OK, participate in a classroom Q&A with Treasurer Rios. Their group entry is entitled, Snuggies for Sandy Victims.
Christopher, a student at the Business and Economics Academy of Milwaukee (BEAM), holds up a dollar bill signed  by Treasurer Rios. Christopher is the winner of the K-6 Photo category for Big Time Saver Michelle of Millstone Township, NJ, the winner in the 7-12 video category, holds her commemorative plaque as she receives warm congratulations from Treasurer Rios. Her video entry was Saving for Security.


TreasuryDirect is a registered mark of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
Ready.Save.Grow. is a service mark of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.


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