What is a US Savings Bond?
US Savings Bonds are non-marketable securities issued by the United States Treasury Department, typically identified by a series, such as EE, I, H, HH, Patriot Bonds, WWII War Bonds, etc. They are also considered a registered security--which means that the person or beneficiaries named on the bond is the registered owner.
How did the State of Wisconsin get the bonds?
The bonds were reported to the state through the Department of Revenue as part of a safe deposit box where the owner did not pay the annual rental fee and the box was drilled open by the bank. Wisconsin's Unclaimed Property law requires financial institutions to turn the contents of the box over to the Department of Revenue after 5 years of inactivity.
How do I claim a savings bond that is listed in the unclaimed property database?
If you are the registered owner of the safe deposit box, you can submit a completed claim form and personal identification to the Department of Revenue to claim the contents. If you are listed as the owner or beneficiary on a bond, you can search your name in our database and submit a claim with all required documentation for your bond(s). If there are any fees owed to the bank that turned over the safe deposit box (drilling fees and back rent owed), you must pay the fees in full before any property, including US Savings Bonds, can be released to you.
How do I cash a US Savings Bond?
Most financial institutions (banks, savings & loan associations, credit unions) are authorized redemption agents designated by the U.S. Treasury Department. However, some bonds may have to be submitted to a Federal Reserve Bank to receive payment. Please visit the U.S. Treasury Department website at www.treasurydirect.gov for bond status and value calculators and other comprehensive information regarding U.S. Savings Bonds.
Do I have to pay taxes on the interest income earned on the bond?
Because US Savings Bonds are issued by the federal government you do not have to pay state tax or local taxes on the earned interest. However, all of the accumulated interest on US Savings Bonds is taxable in the tax year that they mature and must be reported on your tax return. You will receive a Form 1099-INT tax notice in the tax year that the US Savings Bonds are redeemed. Even if you do not receive a tax statement or Form 1099 you are still responsible for reporting all taxable interest income on your tax return. The IRS is notified electronically of all interest paid by financial institutions to bond holders. If you do not include your interest income on your tax return you will be notified by the IRS, usually by mail, of the amount of additional tax, interest, and penalties that you owe.