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Are I Bonds Taxable? A Comprehensive Guide for 10 Common Situations


I Bonds, issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, are a popular savings option for many Americans due to their safety and attractive features. However, when it comes to tax considerations, confusion often arises. Are I Bonds taxable, and under what circumstances? In this comprehensive guide, we will explore 10 common situations to help you understand the tax implications of I Bonds.

Earning Interest

The interest earned on I Bonds is subject to federal income tax, but it is exempt from state and local income taxes. This interest accrues monthly and is added to the bond’s principal semi-annually.

Education Expenses

If you use the proceeds from your I Bonds to pay for qualified higher education expenses, the interest earned may be tax-free. To qualify, you must meet specific income requirements, and the expenses must be for yourself, your spouse, or your dependents.

Series I Bonds Redemption

When you redeem I Bonds, the interest portion is subject to federal income tax. However, if the redemption is for qualified education expenses, it may be tax-free.

Reporting Interest

You are required to report the interest earned on your I Bonds on your federal income tax return for the year in which it accrues, even if you do not redeem the bonds. This means that you may owe taxes on the interest before you receive any cash proceeds.

Married Couples

For married couples filing jointly, the tax treatment of I Bonds may vary. If you and your spouse meet certain criteria and use the proceeds for qualified education expenses, you can exclude the interest from federal income tax, up to a certain limit.

Gifted Bonds

If you receive gifted I Bonds, you are responsible for reporting and paying taxes on the interest. The person who gifted you the bonds is not liable for the taxes.

Death of Bondholder

Upon the death of the bondholder, the accrued interest on I Bonds becomes taxable to the estate of the deceased. The interest is reported on the estate’s income tax return, not the personal return of the deceased.

Savings Bonds for Children

When purchasing I Bonds for your children, consider your tax filing situation. The interest on bonds registered in your child’s name may be taxed at the child’s lower tax rate if the child meets specific criteria, such as age and income limits.

State Tax Considerations

While I Bond interest is exempt from state and local income taxes, there may be exceptions depending on your state’s tax laws. Check with your state’s tax authority for specific information.

When to Report

It’s essential to understand when you should report the interest from I Bonds on your federal income tax return. You have two options: you can report it annually, or you can choose to defer reporting until the bonds mature or are redeemed. However, if the interest becomes taxable before maturity, such as when the bonds reach their 30-year final maturity, you must report and pay taxes on it.


Understanding the tax implications of I Bonds is crucial for maximizing your savings while remaining compliant with federal tax laws. Whether you’re saving for education, retirement, or any other purpose, knowing when and how I Bond interest becomes taxable can help you make informed financial decisions. It’s advisable to consult with a tax professional or use tax software to ensure accurate reporting and compliance with tax regulations. By navigating these 10 common situations, you can make the most of your I Bonds while managing your tax liabilities effectively.