Comparing EE Bonds and I Bonds

Treasury currently offers two series of savings bonds:  EE and I. You can buy both series in electronic format.  You can buy paper Series I bonds with your IRS tax refund.

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Different: How EE Bonds and I Bonds differ

  EE Bonds I Bonds
Purchase Price for Paper bonds Paper EE bonds no longer available. Paper I bond can be purchased with your IRS tax refund at face value (a $50 bond costs $50)
Interest earnings
(electronic and paper are the same)
Interest depends on when the EE Bond was issued:
  • EE Bonds issued from May 2005 earn a fixed rate of return.
  • EE Bonds issued from May 1997 through April 2005 earn variable rates based on 90% of the six-month average of 5-year Treasury Security yields.
I Bonds earn a combined rate made up of
  • a fixed rate of return known when you buy the bond, and
  • an inflation rate that we calculate twice a year based on the CPI-U

Same: How EE Bonds and I Bonds are the same

  EE Bonds and I Bonds
Purchase price Electronic: Face value
(a $50 bond costs $50)
Available electronic bonds Any amount of $25 or more to the penny

For example, electronically, you could buy an EE or an I Bond for $50.23.
Maximum amount you can buy $10,000 each calendar year for each Social Security Number.

In any one year for one Social Security Number: You may buy up to $10,000 in electronic EE Bonds.

You may also buy up to $10,000 in electronic I Bonds and up to $5,000 in paper I Bonds with your tax refund.
Redeeming (cashing in the bond) After 12 months
When interest is earned and compounded Interest is earned monthly and compounded semiannually up to 30 years.
Penalty for cashing in early Loss of last three months of interest if you redeem the bond during the first five years.

For example, if you redeem the bond after 18 months, you get the first 15 months of interest.
Income taxes Federal: Yes

State and Local: No

Tax benefits may be available when you use the money for higher education Using Savings Bonds for Education

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