Is Interest Taxable?

Do you know if the interest you earn on your savings/investments is taxable? 

Most people don’t realize that the interest they earn on their investments is taxable. This can lead to some unpleasant surprises when it’s time to file your taxes.

You can avoid this by reading our article on the subject. We go over the different types of interest and offer tips on how to keep more of your money in your pocket.

Is interest taxable? Yes, interest is taxable. Interest income is taxable as ordinary income on your federal tax return and is, therefore, subject to normal income tax rates. There are, however, a few exceptions.

Is Interest Taxable?

The interest you earn or get credited to an account you can withdraw from without penalty is taxable income in the year it becomes available to you. Some interest you acquire may be tax-free.

Examples of Taxable Interest

  • Interest on bank accounts, money market accounts, certificates of deposit, corporate bonds, and deposited insurance dividends – Be careful that some distributions, often known as dividends, are in fact taxable interest. Dividends paid by deposit or share accounts at cooperative banks, credit unions, domestic building and loan associations, domestic federal savings and loan arrangements, and mutual savings banks are all examples of this sort of distribution.
  • Interest income from Treasury bills, notes, and bonds – It is not subject to state or local income taxes but is taxable by the federal government.
  • Savings Bond interest – You can choose to include the interest in your income each year, but you won’t be able to do so with Series EE and Series I US Savings Bonds until they mature or are redeemed or sold.
  • Other interest –If a business pays you interest of at least $600, it must submit Form 1099-INT to the IRS. Interest paid to you by a company, such as interest received as part of damages or death benefits that are delayed.

Examples of Nontaxable or Excludable Interest

  • If the interest is withdrawn from Series EE and Series I bonds issued after 1989 to pay for qualifying higher education expenses in a year, it may be excluded from income. You must also fulfill the other conditions for the Educational Savings Bond Program to receive this benefit.
  • The amount of excludable interest on Form 8815, Exclusion of Interest From Series EE and I U.S. Savings Bonds Issued After 1989 should be shown on Schedule B (Form 1040), Interest and Ordinary Dividends, according to the IRS. For more information, see Publication 550, Investment Income and Expenses.
  • The tax-free status of interest on certain bonds used to finance state government operations and issued by a state, the District of Columbia, or a U.S. possession is known but not taxable at the federal level. The reporting of tax-exempt interest received during the year is only required as information and does not convert tax-exempt interest into taxable
  • Insurance dividends paid to you by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs are not taxable interest and are not reported.

Calculating Taxes On Interest

Taxed at regular rates, a taxable interest payment is treated the same as an IRA or retirement plan distribution. Interest income is added to the taxpayer’s other ordinary income. The total of these deductions is used to calculate the taxpayer’s top marginal tax rate. This regulation applies to interest that is both fully taxable at all levels and interest that is taxed only at the federal level.

The interest earned by certain investments is subject to special circumstances. For example, some U.S. government obligations are only taxable at the federal level. Unless the alternative minimum tax (AMT) applies, municipal bond interest is exempt from taxation.

How To File Interest On Federal Tax?

All recipients of investment income must receive a Form 1099-INT from the payer. Keep in mind that banks and investment firms must send out the form for interest exceeding $10 to recipients on January 31 each year.

This form shows the amount and kind of interest paid throughout the year. The 1099-INT form has a number of different spaces where you can list various sorts of interest income. The following is a quick rundown of each box’s type of income that it reports:

  • Box 1 (Interest Income): The interest paid from totally taxable instruments like corporate bonds, mutual funds, CDs, and demand deposit accounts on a regular basis.
  • Box 2 (Early Withdrawal Penalty): The penalty you will pay if you withdraw money before the term ends. This is also known as an early withdrawal penalty or breakage fee. The amount above the line on your 1040 tax form.
  • Box 3 (Interest on U.S. Savings Bonds and Treasury Obligations): This amount is taxed at a lower rate than Box 1 since it is only taxable at the federal level. The income in this box is not connected to the money in Box 1.
  • Box 4 (Federal Income Tax Withheld): The amount of federal backup withholding on your interest income. Tax must be withheld at a 24% rate if the investor fails to provide his or her tax ID or Social Security number (SSN) or gives an incorrect one. This figure is added to the total amount of employer-based wage withholding taken from your W-2 form.
  • Box 5 (Investment Expenses)The total amount of deductible expenses for your investment income from a single-class real estate mortgage investment conduits (REMIC).
  • Box 6 (Foreign Tax Paid): A tax may be imposed on you if you receive interest income from a foreign country. This tax is commonly either a deduction or a tax credit, according to the regulations of the foreign country and the United States tax treaty.
  • Box 7 (Foreign Country or U.S. Possession): The entity to which the tax in Box 6 was paid is shown here.
  • Box 8 (Tax-Exempt Interest): Interest is tax-free at all levels, including dividends from mutual funds or other regulated investment companies, according to IRS guidelines. This figure is shown on line 2a of 1040.
  • Box 9 (Specified Private Activity Bond Interest): This box includes the tax-exempt interest that is subject to AMT. This amount is also shown in Box 8.

State Tax On Interest

Most states tax interest income to residents at the standard rate. Those that do not recognize the federal exclusion of municipal bond interest must report this information on their own state returns.

Nonresident aliens are taxed by their country of residence, even if they receive investment income from U.S. sources where there are no withholding taxes, according to IRS regulations.


Investors make investments for a variety of reasons. Some do it to keep their money safe, while others have a more lucrative motivation: to earn a return. This profit might be in the form of a dividend, capital gain, or interest. Whatever form it takes, this is all considered as income by investors.

You must include it in your taxes, along with any other income sources, for the year. After the end of January, keep an eye out for a Form 1099-INT from your bank or investment company to see how much interest you earned and what you need to report to the IRS.