What Is the Annual Limit on Purchasing Series I Savings Bonds?

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A single entity can purchase up to $10,000 worth of Series I Bonds per year electronically through the TreasuryDirect website. Additionally, you can also purchase $5,000 worth of paper I Bonds using your tax refund. The limits are just high enough that you can take advantage of these potentially great securities, particularly if you're married.

Key Takeaways

  • A single entity can purchase up to $25,000 worth of savings bonds in a year.
  • Series I and EE bonds have annual electronic limits of $10,000 each and up to $5,000 of paper bonds can be purchased in a year using your tax refund.
  • These limits are applicable per social security number or per employer identification number. This means you can effectively double the annual limit by purchasing through your individual and entity account.

Old Annual Purchase Limits

Purchase limits have been in place since 1941 when only Series E bonds were available. The most restrictive limit for those bonds—$3,750 annually—was in place from 1941 through 1947. The most generous limit was $30,000 for electronic Series EE and Series I bonds from 2003 through 2007.

The U.S. Treasury Department used to set the Series I savings bond purchase limits based on the way you bought your bonds. You could buy up to $10,000 in Series I savings bonds, but no more than $5,000 could be in the form of paper bonds. The other $5,000 had to be digital bonds registered through the TreasuryDirect website. The policy changed on Jan. 1, 2012 when the Treasury Department started prohibiting financial institutions from selling paper savings bonds.

2022 Annual Purchase Limits

As of October 2022, each individual entity can purchase up to $10,000 worth of Series I bonds in a year. All bonds must be registered electronically through TreasuryDirect.

In addition to this limit for electronic bond purchase, you can buy up to $5,000 worth of paper bonds using your federal income tax refund. To buy paper bonds, you'd need to submit Form 8888 with your tax return. The IRS effectively takes care of registering them for you.


The Series I savings bond annual purchase limit is in addition to the $10,000 Series EE savings bond annual purchase limit. In other words, you can put money into each of the two types of savings bonds annually and take advantage of both.

So the $25,000 annual purchase limit breaks down like this:

  • $10,000 in electronic Series I bonds purchased online, plus
  • $5,000 in paper Series I bonds purchased with your tax refund, plus
  • $10,000 in electronic Series EE bonds purchased online

Getting Around the Annual Purchase Limits

One problem with the savings bonds program is that it's difficult for high-income families to invest a large percentage of their earnings in savings bonds due to these limits. But there are some loopholes.

The limits also fall well below the gift tax exclusion—$16,000 per person per year ($32,000 for married couple) in 2022, increasing to $17,000 ($34,000 for married couples) in 2023. So you and your spouse could each purchase $10,000 worth of Series I savings bonds as gifts for each of your children, effectively transferring $20,000 to each of them without unpleasant gift tax consequences every year.


High-income families can invest much larger amounts in Series I savings bonds without hitting the annual purchase limits. They're effectively giving gifts, not investing in bonds for themselves.

Series I Bonds Are Irrevocable Gifts

Series I savings bonds that you buy for minors through a custodial account with TreasuryDirect are irrevocable gifts. In other words, you can't take the money back even if you use it on things that you think are justified, such as medical expenses. You could end up facing a civil lawsuit if your child decides to sue you for restitution. 

Entity Accounts Can Increase Purchase Limits

Another technique to increase the purchase limits on Series I savings bonds is to open TreasuryDirect accounts in the name of your family business, partnership, limited liability company, or other qualified entity. But some restrictions apply.


You can only open one entity account and each account can have only one owner. No secondary owners are allowed. You cannot gift or receive gifted bonds in an entity account nor can you link an entity account with a minor's account.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a Series I savings bond?

A Series I savings bond is one of many Treasury securities offered by the U.S. government. These bonds are essentially loans to the federal government. In exchange for lending money, the government will pay interest. The interest paid on an I bond is calculated twice a year keeping inflation in mind. In that way, series I bonds are designed to help average Americans do things like save for college and plan for retirement.

How long does it take for a Series I savings bond to mature?

Series I bonds mature after 30 years, but they can be cashed after one year. However, if the bonds aren't held for at least five years, then the bondholder will forfeit the previous three months' worth of interest payments when they cash them.

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  1. TreasuryDirect.Gov. "How much can I spend on savings bonds?"

  2. TreasuryDirect.Gov. "Treasury Department Sets Online Savings Bond Annual Purchase Limit at $10,000 per Series."

  3. Internal Revenue Service. "Using Your Income Tax Refund to Save by Buying U.S. Savings Bonds."

  4. Internal Revenue Service. “IRS Provides Tax Inflation Adjustments for Tax Year 2023.”

  5. Code of Federal Regulations. "Subpart C - § 363.96 What do I need to know if I initially purchase a bond as a gift?"

  6. TreasuryDirect.Gov. "Learn More About Entity Accounts."

  7. TreasuryDirect.Gov. "I bonds."

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