Wednesday, October 14, 2015

New York Finds $1.67M in Unclaimed Funds Belonging to . . . New York? A Lesson in Claiming

According to an article in Monday's Daily News by Erin Durkin, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James and her staff found over $1.67M in over 2,000 accounts held by the New York Office of Unclaimed Funds on behalf of New York City agencies, departments, and organizations.  As the article notes, many of the accounts may have been missed in earlier reviews by the City because of owner names in the state database that might have been abbreviated or misspelled.

The article raises an important lesson for owners searching the state's database for unclaimed property -- the information in the state's database is only as good as what gets reported.  If an owner's name is abbreviated or misspelled on the holder's report, it will probably be that way on the state's database.  So, in searching for your property, don't forget to try common or likely misspellings or abbreviations of your (or your company's) name.  For example, if you were searching for property held for the Alphabet Boat & Cargo Corporation, you might be well advised to run searches for all of the following:
  • Alphabet Boat & Cargo
  • Alphabet Boat and Cargo
  • Alphabet Boat + Cargo
  • Alphabett Boat Cargo (or other misspellings)
  • Cargo, Alphabet Boat (in case reported in Last Name, First Name format) 
  • ABC Corp
  • ABC Company
The article also serves as a reminder to holders to try to report owner names accurately and consistently.  Doing so will make it more likely that the owner can locate his or her property in the future.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Friday Lost + Found: Australia Amendments, NY Numbers, Escheat Events

Australia to Revise Bank Account Rules -- According to an article om, the Australian government is considering legislation to (re)revise its laws relating to unclaimed bank accounts.  Under the current rules, certain bank accounts are deemed unclaimed if there has been no activity for 3 years.  The proposed revisions would change the period of inactivity required to 7 years.

New York Holding $14B in Unclaimed Property -- Every once in a while, we like to keep tabs on the current amount of money being held by the states' as unclaimed property.  According to one recent article, the amount currently held by the New York Office of Unclaimed Funds for New Yorkers is $14 billion as of fiscal year end March 31.

Upcoming UPPO Webinar on Recovering Property -- Though we spend the vast majority of time on this site writing about the process of reporting and remitting unclaimed property, it is worth remembering that most holders of unclaimed property are also owners of unclaimed property held by others.  On October 14, the Unclaimed Property Professionals' Organizations is sponsoring a webinar on "How to Recover Property for Your Company".  Webinar details and registration information can be found at the UPPO website.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Delaware Audit / VDA Bill Signed by the Governor

Earlier this month, we mentioned the legislative approval of Delaware Senate Bill 141. The bill has now been signed by the Governor and enacted into law.  As noted earlier, the legislation extends voluntary disclosure program run by the Secretary of State, and implements some new audit practices, including:
  • limiting the lookback period for audits already underway to January 1, 1986;
  • limiting the lookback period for new audits to January 1, 1991; and
  • beginning in 2017, limiting the lookback period for new audits to 22 years.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Senate Bill 141 Passes House, Awaiting Executive Action

Early this morning Delaware Senate Bill 141 passed the House, and now is ready to be signed by the Governor.  If passed, the bill would make some significant changes to the First State's audit practices and would further extend the voluntary disclosure program run by the Secretary of State (which is closed at the moment, but would become permanent if the law passes).

As to the state's audit practices, the new legislation:
  • limits the lookback period for audits already underway to January 1, 1986;
  • limits the lookback period for new audits to January 1, 1991; and
  • effective January 1, 2017, limits the lookback period for new audits to 22 years
The bill also reopens the Secretary of State's VDA program, and provides that any holder entering into the VDA program by December 31, 2016, and agrees to pay within 2 years of entry will have its records reviewed back to the "transaction" year 1996.  Holders enrolling thereafter would have similarly have a 19 year lookback period.

The law provides that no new audits will be commenced until such time as the Secretary of State notifies the holder of the ability to enter into the VDA program, and the holder fails to do so within 60 days.

On the negative side for holders, effective March 1, 2016 the bill also reinstates interest on overdue amounts at 0.5% per month unless (up to 25% of the amount to be paid) unless the failure to pay "is due to reasonable cause and not willful neglect."

Monday, June 29, 2015

Legislative Updates - Updates from Texas, Nevada, and Maine

Texas Lowers Aggregate Reporting Threshold . . .  -- Texas Senate Bill 1021 lowers the aggregate reporting threshold from $50 to $25, effective September 1, 2015.

  . . . And Provides for Cash Redemption of Certain Low Value Gift Cards -- Also in the Lone Star State, Texas House Bill 2391 provides that consumers may obtain a cash refund for stored value cards with balances of $2.50 or less after purchase.

Nevada Enacts Business-to-Business Exemption -- Nevada Senate Bill 348 enacts a business-to-business exemption, providing that certain credits (but not checks) among businesses need not be reported if there is an ongoing business relationship between the parties.

Maine Enacts Savings-Bond Escheat Bill -- Maine Senate Bill 320 extends the provisions of that state's unclaimed property act to matured U.S. Savings Bonds.