Series H/HH Savings Bond overview
Monday, October 25th, 2004
Categorized as: Series HH or H US Savings Bonds
- Series H and HH bond overview
- Are you missing interest payments?
- Are 1.5% HH bonds worth keeping?
- Sample Series HH Savings Bond
- How to redeem Series H/HH savings bonds
- Series H/HH tax issues
Series H and HH bond overview
New Series HH or Series H Savings Bonds are no longer issued, however, there are HH bonds outstanding that are still earning interest. All series H bonds, on the other hand, are no longer earning interest and should be redeemed.
HH bonds feature current income. This means they don’t grow in value like other Savings Bonds. At redemption, Series H and HH bonds are worth only their face value.
Instead of being added to the value of the bond, the interest an HH bond earns is paid to you twice a year, usually by direct deposit into your bank account. The payment is made in the anniversary month of the bond and six months later.
When they were available, the only way to obtain Series H/HH Savings Bonds was in exchange for Series E or EE Savings Bonds.
The other major feature of Series HH and Series H Savings Bonds is that they allow you to continue tax deferral on the interest income from the E/EE bonds that you exchanged for the H/HH bonds. This tax-deferral lasts until the H/HH Bonds are redeemed or stop earning interest.
H/HH bonds were issued at full face value (you paid $500 for a $500 bond). Series H/HH Savings Bonds were available in four denominations: $500, $1,000, $5,000, and $10,000.
Series H bonds were first issued in June 1952 and earned interest for 30 years. They were replaced by Series HH Savings Bonds in January 1980. Series HH bonds earn interest for 20 years.
You can have Series HH and Series H Savings Bond interest payments deposited directly into your bank account. Use the Treasury’s Direct Deposit Sign Up Form, to initiate direct deposit.
Unlike other series of Savings Bonds, Series H/HH bonds don’t have a three-month interest penalty when they are redeemed before five years.
Savings Bond Advisor will also help you avoid a hidden interest rate penalty that can occur if you cash a Series H/HH bonds at the wrong time.
Are you missing interest payments?
If you have inherited or otherwise own Series H or Series HH Savings Bonds and you’re not receiving interest payments, you need to notify the Treasury in writing.
Provide the date and amount of the missing interest payment, if known. You must also provide the name and social security number on the bonds. Sign the notification and send it to:
HH/H Assistance Branch
Bureau of the Public Debt
PO Box 2186
Parkersburg WV 26106-2186
It usually takes two to three weeks to receive a response to a missing interest payment inquiry.
Are 1.5% HH bonds worth keeping?
The Treasury has the right to change the interest rate on H/HH bonds every ten years. For bonds reaching their tenth anniversary now, the rate drops from 4% to a mere 1.5%.
My book, Savings Bond Advisor, includes an extensive analysis of 1.5% H/HH bonds. Many people are better off redeeming 1.5% bonds, paying the tax, and reinvesting in EE or I bonds. See the book for complete details.
Sample Series HH Savings Bond
Series H/HH tax issues
On the face of a Series HH or Series H Savings Bond you’ll see a section labeled deferred interest. When an HH bond is redeemed, the owner or co-owner who redeems the bond receives the face value of the bond and the owner or co-owner who has been receiving the interest payment, along with the IRS, receives a 1099-INT tax form reporting the amount of deferred interest shown on the bond.
The amount shown on the 1099-INT is the interest from the Series E/EE bonds that were converted into Series H/HH bonds and never paid.
This means that if you have a large investment in H or HH bonds, you need to be aware of the deferred-tax time-bomb, which is discussed in detail in Savings Bond Advisor.