Guest Blog: Can we save the savings bond?
Tax season is almost over and finally all of the pressure to “buy, buy, buy” with our refund will subside. But, thousands of taxpayers chose a different path this year – they chose to take a portion of their refund and save into U.S. Savings Bonds. In fact, since 2010, over 100,000 people have benefited from tax time savings bonds totaling more than $40 million. At D2D, we have been trying to increase the financial security of Americans for over a decade and very few innovations have been more successful or promising than tax-time savings.
Unfortunately, this successful option to impulsively and easily save may not be available after next tax season. To build awareness about how important tax time savings bonds are to the financial security of Americans, several Members of Congress and U.S. Senators have sent a letter to the new U.S. Treasury Secretary, Jack Lew. They have asked the Secretary to continue tax time savings bonds and also to test electronic savings bond solutions to help evolve the program into a paperless product that meets the needs of all Americans, including financially vulnerable households. Additionally, a national coalition of organizations that includes NCTC sent a letter to Secretary Lew asking for a similar commitment to tax time savings bonds.
It is still incredible that this universal, easy, and accessible savings option exists. When President Obama instructed the Treasury Department to implement tax time savings bonds for the 2010 tax season, it was an enormous victory for all of us working on financial security issues. While there continue to be new ideas that can help Americans save, we have to remember that we currently sit on an enormous asset with the Savings Bond Program and the tax time savings bond option. To lose the accessibility of them would be an incredible loss and setback for this work and for low-income Americans. We all need to join our partners in the Congress and Senate to let Secretary Lew know that we are committed to preserving tax time savings bonds and it is not an option to take away this away.
Moreover, there is still time to save this year! If you have not filed your tax return yet, anyone who receives a refund can split their refund into U.S. Savings Bonds using IRS Form 8888. To make this decision more exciting, D2D is offering up prizes for people who save from $250 to $25,000! Simply, split your refund and let us know at www.saveyourrefund.com. To join the effort to preserve tax time bonds, visit www.keepbondseasy.org.
The author Joanna Smith-Ramani is the Director of Strategy at the Doorways to Dreams Fund. She is a regular tax time savings bond saver.