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The Office of Personnel Management has determined that U.S. Savings Bonds have distinctive, positive qualities that make them appropriate recognition items. Despite the fact that U.S. Savings Bonds clearly convey a sense of monetary value, a savings bond must be considered a form of honorary award since it is a Federal contract that must be purchased and held for a minimum of 6 months before it can be redeemed. Its "failure" to meet the honorary award criterion regarding a sense of monetary value need not preclude its use. The other criteria are met since its minimum 6-month holding period gives it some lasting value, it certainly can be considered symbolic of the employee-employer relationship for any Federal employee, and it is appropriate to the public sector. Consequently,the Office of Personnel Management has concluded that a savings bond may be used as an honorary award. When of nominal value, a savings bond also can be used as an informal recognition award since it meets the required criteria. We consider savings bonds to be a special case,however, and expect that all the criteria for using items as honorary awards and informal recognition awards will be applied in other cases.
Agencies also need to be aware that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) considers savings bonds to be taxable on their fair market value. The cost of a savings bond would be considered its fair market value. Further questions should be directed to the IRS.
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