Monday, April 21, 2014

Missouri Considers "Holder-Friendly" Unclaimed Property Legislation

Last week, a unclaimed property bill was introduced in the Missouri House of Representatives that would make significant, and holder friendly, changes to the Missouri Unclaimed Property Act. According to the El Dorado Springs Sun, which recently posted an article about the proposed legislation, the Missouri Chamber of Commerce & Industry is backing the bill, claiming that it "would take Missouri from the bottom four states in the rankings to one of the top 10 states for fair treatment of business unclaimed property.”  

The proposed bill addresses three issues frequently requested on holder wish-lists for unclaimed property administration.  In particular, the proposed legislation would provide the following features:
  • Business-to-Business Exemption -- Bill 1075 would create a business-to-business exemption for items between business associations that have an ongoing customer relationship.  Specifically, the proposed exemption provides that items "issued to a business entity or association as part of a commercial transaction in the ordinary course of a holder's business shall not be presumed abandoned if the holder and such business entity or association have an ongoing business relationship."
  • Three Year Statute of Limitations -- One of the most frequent holder complaints about state unclaimed property laws is the fact that the audit period can go back many years, if not decades.  The proposed Missouri legislation, by contrast, would limit the enforcement statute of limitations, in most cases, to three years from the date of filing the report.
  • Appeals Process -- Finally, the bill would create an appeals process to allow holders to challenge adverse determinations made by the Administrator.
 The bill is still in the very early stages of consideration.  We will continue to follow its progress as updates are warranted.

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