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U.S. Savings Bond

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding U.S. Savings Bonds

Can I purchase savings bonds through the payroll deduction program?

No. The U.S. Department of Treasury (Treasury) eliminated the employer-sponsored payroll savings plan used to purchase paper savings bonds on January 1, 2011.

How can I still purchase savings bonds?

You have two options; one option is to purchase paper savings bonds from a financial institution. The other option is to purchase savings bonds and other treasury notes through the federal government’s TreasuryDirect program.  To learn about this program and how to open a TreasuryDirect account go to the program’s website at http://www.savingsbonds.gov/.

Will I be able to purchase savings bonds through payroll deductions in the future?

Yes. You will be able to re-establish a payroll plan under the TreasuryDirect program to purchase U. S. Savings Bonds after your department begins using the MyCalPAYS, the state’s new payroll system.  Please check our web site at http://www.sco.ca.gov/21century.html to see when your department will be moving to MyCalPAYS.

Since the timeline for the rollout of MyCalPAYS to California State University (CSU) employees has not been determined, CSU employees are encouraged to purchase savings bonds and other treasury notes directly through the TreasuryDirect program.

When were funds in the savings bond escrow account refunded?

Funds remaining in the employee's savings bond escrow account were refunded in April 2011 and July 2011.

What happens if the savings bond escrow refund warrant could not be delivered to the payee?

Agencies and campuses have been instructed to return these warrants to the SCO.  We will be working closely with the SCO's Division of Unclaimed Property (UCP) to try and locate the employee.  Any unclaimed refund(s) will be held by SCO in perpetuity for the employee or their heirs to claim.

How can I find the savings bond account number on the paper savings bond?

The savings bond account number is the three digits located on the lower, right side of the U.S. Savings bond, next to CA#.

How is the interest rate determined for Series EE savings bonds?

The date you purchased your Series EE savings bonds will determine how the interest rate is calculated. This information can be found on the TreasuryDirect Treasury Securities & Programs website.

Is there a minimum period I must hold the savings bonds before I can cash it?

Yes. Savings bonds issued January 2003 and earlier must be held for at least six months before they can be cashed. Savings bonds issued February 2003 and later must be held for at least 12 months before they can be cashed.

For more information on the extension to the holding period, go to the TreasuryDirect Minimum Holding Period For Savings Bond website.

Are there any tax advantages to purchasing savings bonds?

Interest earned on savings bonds is subject to Federal income tax, but not State or local income tax. You may elect to pay tax on interest annually as it accrues or defer the tax until the bond is cashed or reaches final maturity. Also, there are certain methods of having your child as the owner or beneficiary that may also allow you to exempt certain amounts of the interest income from taxation. For more information, please go to the Internal Revenue Service Web site and to view Publications 550 and 929 and Forms 8815 and 8818.

What if my savings bond(s) gets lost or stolen?

You must send a letter to our office with the following information: your name, SSN, current mailing address, phone number, dates of bonds and authorized signature, explaining what has occurred. The State Controller's Office will provide you with a listing of U.S. Savings Bonds issued for the period cited in your letter and a form that you can use to contact the Department of Treasury Bureau of Public Debit.

The requestor’s letter should be mailed to the following address:

State Controller's Office
Personnel/Payroll Services Division
P.O. Box 942850
Sacramento, CA 94250-5878
ATTN: Bond Unit

If I would like to find out how much interest my savings bonds have earned or if I have other questions about savings bonds, is there somewhere I can find this information?

Yes. The U.S. Savings Bonds website contains diverse information on U.S. Savings bonds.