Wednesday, May 2, 2018

California Taps the Brakes on Potential Amnesty Program

A few weeks ago, the unclaimed property industry was abuzz with the news of California legislation that would implement the Golden State’s first Voluntary Disclosure Agreement (VDA) program since 20o2.  VDA arrangements are amnesty programs pursuant to which holders of unclaimed property can self-report and remit overdue property to the state.  In most such programs, in exchange for coming forward with the overdue funds, the holder generally receives a waiver of the late-reporting penalties and/or interest that would otherwise be assessed under the act.  While VDA programs have long been in place in unclaimed property significant states like Delaware and New York, California has been an extreme outlier:  not only does the state have no amnesty program, but it is among the most aggressive in assessing interest on unclaimed property.  Little wonder then that news of a potential California VDA program was welcome news.

Alas, it appears that the program is not in the immediate offing.  According to an article in the Northern California Record, the sponsor of the legislation has pulled the bill, suggesting that it needs “more work.”  No word on what that work is, or when a revised bill might be offered.

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