What is An Original Issue Discount (OID)? : An Eccentric Guide

Oct 10, 2023 By Susan Kelly


A discount is when bonds are sold for less than what they are worth. The difference between the bond's actual face worth and its cost is called the Original Issue Discount, or OID.

Bond issuers offer original issue discounts to get people to buy their bonds so that they can raise money for their business. Many zero-coupon bonds have big OIDs to get people to buy them. The price discount is thought of in a way that treats it as extra income for the bond owner. From the IRS's point of view, the final payment is considered income. So, the OID is a zero-coupon bond taxed annually based on how much it is expected to pay out in the future.

Even though the bond owner doesn't get any interest until the bond matures, the price at which the bond sells at a discount is subject to tax. The price discount is considered extra income for the person who owns the bond. From the IRS's point of view, the final payout is considered income.

OIDs and Interest Rates

A company can issue bonds that sell for less than their face value and pay interest regularly. But the amount of OID tends to be inversely related to the bond's interest rate. In other words, the bond's coupon rate decreases as the discount increases.

The negative correlation happens because companies might sell bonds for less than their face value, so they don't have to pay investors a higher interest rate regularly. Even though investors get cash interest on a bond, companies must pay for it.

On the other hand, if a bond's rate is high, it is less likely to be heavily discounted, and if it does have an OID, it would be smaller. If investors like the rate on a bond, there will probably be a lot of people who want to buy it, so it probably won't sell for much less than face value.

Original Issue Discount (OID) Purpose

The original issue discount (OID) helps make the loan offer more enticing to potential lenders in the market. Because the OID gives better returns with less money. Since the issuer gets less than the full supervisor, it's legitimate to ask, "Why would a company start to give an initial problem discount (OID) when increasing debt?"

The bondholder can then invest the extra money somewhere else, and since the effective interest rates on the cash flows are higher, the total returns go up even more.

Tax Consequences

Because of this, they are dealing with an original issue discount with tax effects. People often think that these are the worst things about investing in OIDs. The amount of interest earned at maturity is, in effect, part of the bond's price.

In other words, the refund is spread out over the bond's life. Investors must then report this amortization value as taxable, meaning they must pay taxes yearly as they won't get the payment until maturity.

How is OID taxed?

The original issue discount (OID) on a relationship is a type of interest, and when the bond reaches maturity, it will be a source of income for the bondholder. The Income Tax Department (IRS) expects you to pay taxes on that money just like any other money you get.

OID is taxable income that builds up on the bond yearly, even if you don't get any money from it. Although some OID bonds don't pay the interest until they mature, the owner has to pay income tax on that interest across the whole life of the agreement.

If the interest on an OID bond is $10 or more, the bond's issuer will send the bond's owner a Form 1099-OID every year. The form will demonstrate how much has been added to the bond that year, and the bond owner will use that form to notify the amount as income on the one's tax return. Since the income from the OID builds up over the life of the bond, and you pay taxes on it yearly, you won't have to pay a huge tax bill when the bond matures.


What is an original issue discount (OID)? OID bonds give investors a chance to make money because they can buy them for less than their face value. When OID bonds are sold at a discount, it could mean that the issuer has money problems and could default.

Related Articles