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Are Your Savings Bonds Still Earning Interest?

If you own savings bonds, you may want to check their issue dates to find out if they're still earning interest. Depending on when you purchased your securities, it may be time to redeem them. Below are some guidelines that may help.

Savings Bonds No Longer Earning Interest:

  • E bonds through November 1965 that are more than 40 years old,
  • E bonds with December 1965 or later issue dates that are more than 30 years old,
  • H bonds that are more than 30 years old,
  • Freedom Shares (also known as Savings Notes) and
  • HH bonds that are more than 20 years old.

Series HH/H bonds pay interest on a semiannual basis, so it's easy to know when they stop earning interest. However, it's not always as obvious in the case of accrual securities like E bonds or Savings Notes – these simply stop growing in value.

This often comes as a surprise to savings bond owners. While all Treasury instruments are issued with an original term to maturity, maturity dates of savings bonds have been extended by as much as 30 years. Original maturity is the maximum amount of time it takes for a Series E/EE bond or Savings Note to reach face value. After your bond reaches original maturity, it automatically enters one or more extension periods (usually ten years long). This allows for additional earned interest but may create confusion for owners about when their bonds reach final maturity.

Holding onto a security that's reached its final maturity date means that your money is no longer earning interest. Why not redeem the matured security and put your money back to work for you? Even if the bonds aren't redeemed, regulations governing savings bonds require the interest income to be reported for Federal tax purposes for the year of final maturity, causing tax problems for unwary bond owners.

As a savings bond owner, you'll want to keep track of your bonds' issue dates and when they stop earning interest. You can always check them on our site at our page that discusses Treasury Securities that Have Stopped Earning Interest. While this article has addressed only savings bonds, you may also want to check the maturity dates of your marketable securities (Treasury bills, notes or bonds).