Decide when to pay tax on U.S. savings bonds

When you own Series EE or Series I savings bonds, you have a tax decision to make. Both types of bonds earn interest monthly. Usually, you’ll choose to defer paying any taxes on the interest until the bond reaches final maturity or you redeem it, whichever comes first. At that time, you would report and pay taxes on the total interest earned over the life of the bond. (If you meet certain requirements, you might avoid paying any taxes by using the bond proceeds to pay for higher education expenses.)

The alternative method is to report the interest earned each year as part of your taxable income. Most people choose the first method because it lets you delay paying taxes for as long as possible. But sometimes the annual method makes sense — for example, if a young child has been given a savings bond in his or her own name.

The tax rate on investment earnings of a child under age 19 (under age 24 for full-time students) is the parent’s marginal rate when the “kiddie tax” applies. The kiddie tax is intended to stop parents from shifting income to their children. But even under the kiddie tax rules, the first $950 of a child’s investment income in 2012 is tax-free and the next $950 is taxed at your child’s lower tax rates. So if your child expects to earn less than $1,900 from savings bonds and other investments, reporting the interest as income each year could make good tax sense.

For further details on this and other tax-saving strategies, please give us a call.

About Brenda J. McGivern, CPA

Brenda McGivern started her own certified public accounting and management consulting firm in October 2001. The full service CPA firm provides tax and accounting solutions to meet the needs of today’s small business and individual. Brenda McGivern has become a trusted advisor and valuable resource her clients rely on for timely, accurate assistance when they need it.

Before starting the firm, she worked as an accountant for three years at a local firm and prior to that five years at a large international CPA firm in Boston. She has performed the following tax services: federal, state and local tax planning, international tax planning, estate and succession planning, mergers and acquisitions, capital retention and IRS representation. She has also coordinated assurance engagements, such as financial statement audits, reviews and compilations from the planning phase through the reporting phase. She has prepared and reviewed regulatory filings for numerous regulatory agencies including the Security and Exchange Commission.

Prior to these positions she was selected from over 2,000 candidates into an eight-person intensive financial management program at an international technology company. The program consisted of graduate level classroom study and two six-month rotational assignments in financial operations.

She graduated cum laude from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and holds a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in accounting. McGivern also holds a license in Massachusetts as a Certified Public Accountant and is a member of the American Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants. She resides in Stoughton, Massachusetts with her husband Brian, and their sons Sean, Ryan and Conor and their dog, Davis.

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