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Unclaimed Property Focus
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UNCLAIMED PROPERTY FOCUS is a blog written by and for UPPO members, featuring diverse perspectives and insights from unclaimed property practitioners across the U.S. and Canada. We welcome your submissions to Unclaimed Property Focus. Please contact Emily Lee via emily@uppo.org or 763-253-4345 with any questions about submitting a blog post for consideration and refer to our editorial guidelines when writing your blog post. Disclaimer: Information and/or comments to this blog is not intended as a substitute for legal advice on compliance or reporting requirements.

 

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UPPO Asks: How Do You Train Someone New to Unclaimed Property?

Posted By Administration, Friday, March 17, 2017

Periodically, UPPO asks members to respond to a question, sharing their ideas, insights, and experience. The recurring UPPO Asks feature is a compilation of their responses.

 

We recently asked several members: How do you train someone new to unclaimed property? 

 

“We basically walk through the overall process with the employee and familiarize them with the software that we use for compliance. The first year, the process is handled with me as manager, and each time a task comes up, I will share with the employee. The next time another state becomes due, I will allow the employee to process the task on their own, but I always check the work before any mailings or filings have occurred. Once we get to the October filing states, I will relieve the employee of most of the other job duties to allow for the large volume. As states are completed, I will check the work again for accuracy and go through any corrections with the employee. Since I am the manager of the department, I will contact the CFO to sign all the required reports and obtain the notary acknowledgement, and pass back to the employee to complete the mailing.

 

“Then, we relax for a couple of months and start all over again! The second year, I place more responsibility on the employee to complete the tasks, but I always check the work before any reports are released or filed.”—Sherri Moll, unclaimed property manager, CountryMark

 

 

“Over the years, I have developed a comprehensive training guide for new staff that encompasses three areas of knowledge: background of unclaimed property laws, the services we offer clients and value added, and technical skills required of the position. Being a service provider, I believe the depth of training is much more involved, as practitioners require a greater understanding of the nuances involved across industries. I also encourage unclaimed property case studies and schedule a follow-up training shortly thereafter (two to four weeks) and recap the highlights discussed. As with anything, repetition is key.”—Christopher Jensen, director of abandoned and unclaimed property compliance, Ryan

 

 

“Our Unclaimed Property department is actually split into two: the Daily group and the Compliance group. The Daily group processes customer requested refunds and auto refunds in a proactive attempt to keep records clean and prevent unclaimed property. Our Compliance group handles state reporting. Training is slightly different for each group. 

“The Daily group is given an overview on our accounts receivable, cash applications and credit department processes. The group is trained on the transaction codes they will see in the system and how to handle a credit based on the customer's overall account. They are provided with criteria that credits need to meet for processing an auto refund and criteria that customer requested refunds also need to meet. They are given a high-level explanation of the compliance processes. 

“The compliance group is trained on the transaction codes they see in customers AR history in the system and how to handle a credit based on the customer's overall account. The group has a template that is used for all state reports to ensure the detail is consistent, researchable and accurate. The template also assists with accounting comparisons and tracking all other property types that fall into unclaimed property dormancy. The compliance analysts attend webinars to stay up to date with best practices and the ever-changing legislation. 

“Both sides of our UP department have SOPs and checklists to reference as they go through processes and procedures. These are updated regularly.”—Tiffany Kevek, unclaimed property supervisor, Uline

 

Now it’s your turn. How to you train some new to unclaimed property? Add a comment to this post to share your response.

 

Tags:  training  unclaimed property  UPPO Asks 

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2017 Spring Reporting Checklist

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Spring reporting season is again upon us. Eleven states require holders to file reports between March 1 and July 1. Following are reporting deadlines for these states, along with helpful links. This list is not exclusive to a specific holder industry, so please check the states’ websites for information on industry-specific reporting information and deadlines. 

 

California 
Report due: Life insurance companies are required to file a Holder Notice Report by April 30, 2017; all other holders are required to submit a Holder Remit Report between June 1-15, 2017 
Extensions: Extensions may be
requested no later than 30 days before the due date.

Contact: updholderoutreach@sco.ca.gov or (916) 464-6284 
California holder resources.

Connecticut 
Report due: March 31, 2017
Extensions: Extensions may be 
requested.


Contact: Maria Greenslade:
maria.greenslade@ct.gov or (860) 702-3125
Connecticut holder resources


Delaware
Report due: March 1, 2017
Extensions: Extensions may be 
requested.


Contact: 
escheat.holderquestions@state.de.us or (302) 577-8220
Delaware holder resources.


Florida 
Report due: May 1, 2017
Extensions: Extensions may be 
requested by April 30


Contact: 
EReporting@MyFloridaCFO.com, (850) 413-5522
Florida holder resources.


Illinois 
Report due: May 1, 2017 
Extensions: Extensions may be 
requested and must be submitted in early April. 


Contact: 
Email form, (217) 785-6998
Illinois holder resources.

 

Michigan

Report due: July 1, 2017

Extensions: Extensions may be requested.

 

Contact: TreasUPDReporting@michigan.gov or (517) 636-6940

Michigan holder resources.

 

New York 
Report due: March 10, 2017 
Extensions: Extensions may be 
requested 30 days prior to the report deadline. 

Contact: NYSRPU@osc.state.ny.us or (800) 221-9311
New York holder resources.


Pennsylvania 
Report due: April 15, 2017
Extensions: Extensions may be
requested.  

Contact: report@patreasury.gov or (800) 379-3999
Pennsylvania holder resources

Tennessee
Report due: May 1, 2017 
Extensions: Extensions may be
requested by May 1.

Contact: ucp.holders@tn.gov or (615) 253-5362
Tennessee holder resources

Texas

Report due: July 1, 2017

Extensions: Does not accept extension requests.

 

Contact: up.holders@cpa.texas.gov or (800) 321-2274, ext. 66246

Texas holder resources.

 

Vermont 
Report due: May 1, 2017 
Extensions: Extension requests may be submitted to the Unclaimed Property Division of the State of Vermont Office of the Treasurer. Describe the circumstance(s) for the delay and indicate the anticipated report delivery date.


Contact:
tre.upcompliance@vermont.gov or (802) 828-2407
Vermont holder resources.


For detailed information about reporting deadlines, dormancy periods, due diligence requirements, exemptions and deductions, electronic filing and much more, UPPO members can refer to the
Jurisdiction Resource Guide.

 

 

Tags:  spring reporting  unclaimed property 

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Attending the UPPO Annual Conference? Explore Austin

Posted By Administration, Thursday, March 9, 2017

In addition to unmatched educational and networking opportunities, the 2017 UPPO Annual Conference presents a chance for attendees to take advantage of a great location, Austin, Texas. Best known for its diverse music scene, Austin offers visitors a multitude of sightseeing, dining, shopping and entertainment options. Following are several of Austin’s many worthwhile destinations to consider while in town.

 

Entertainment

A trip to Austin would not be complete without live music. The city boasts dozens of music venues and one of the best local scenes anywhere. A few of the most popular live music bars and clubs are:

 

Restaurants

Dining options abound in Austin, so it shouldn’t have a difficult time finding something to please even the most refined tastes. Popular choices for Mexican food include La Condesa and Torchy’s Tacos. If you’re craving great barbeque, try La Barbecue or Stubbs Bar-B-Q. You’ll find upscale Thai and Chinese cuisine at Sway Thai and Wu Chow, respectively. And if you’re seeking dining options as quirky as Austin itself, check out Hillside Farmacy, a former pharmacy, or Launderette, a former laundromat.

 

Attractions

The Texas Capitol building is one of the most iconic statehouses in the nation. Located less than a mile from the UPPO conference site, the 128-year-old capitol is open to the public and features free guided and self-guided tours.

 

Presidential history buffs can explore the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, which features exhibits, events and information dedicated to the life and political career of the 36th U.S. president.

 

Visitors who are interested in taking in some art while in Austin will love the city’s many galleries and museums, including:

  • Blanton Museum of Art, featuring nearly 18,00 works of art, including European paintings, prints and drawing, and American and Latin American contemporary art
  • Mexic-Arte Museum, dedicated to the work of Mexican and Latino artists
  • Yard Dog, a gallery showcasing eclectic pop art and folk art from around the world, including several artists who are also well-known musicians
  • HOPE Outdoor Gallery, a community art park also known as Graffiti Park, featuring the work of street artists and muralists

 

Whether you’re interested in getting some exercise or simply enjoying the outdoors, Lady Bird Lake Hike-and-Bike Trail offers a 10-mile of biking, jogging and walking trail and boardwalk. Its location in downtown Austin provides visitors with a nature getaway in the midst of a bustling city.

 

Shops

Austin is filled with unique, independent retail shops for every taste, some of them unlike anything you’ll find at home. A self-described “emporium of transcendent junk,” Uncommon Objects brings together two dozen antique sellers offering vintage books, jewelry, art, collectables and assorted oddities.

 

If you miss the days of flipping through albums rather than downloading mp3s, Austin has you covered. Waterloo Records, Breakaway Records and End of an Era are a few of the city’s most popular independent record stores.

 

Looking for designer fashions? Try Kick Pleat, Olive and By George. If vintage is more your style, Feathers Boutique, Blue Velvet or Charm School Vintage. Or, if you live by the old adage, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” head to Allens Boots and Callahan’s General Store will meet your western wear needs.

 

Explore

Austin has a lot to offer. If you really want to go get a feel for the city, start by exploring the shopping and entertainment districts surrounding the JW Marriott Austin, the UPPO Annual Conference location:

  • 2nd Street District, featuring shops and restaurants
  • Warehouse District, home to some of the city’s best music venues and dining options
  • Sixth Street, reflecting the eclectic vibe for which Austin is known, including entertainment venues, dining and bars to meet most tastes

 

Enjoy your time in Austin!

 

 

Tags:  UPPO annual conference 

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Japan enacts new unclaimed property program

Posted By Administration, Thursday, March 2, 2017

In December, the Japanese parliament passed unclaimed property legislation aimed at funding organizations working on the nation’s social problems. The new law, which will be implemented over the next 18 months, will channel funds from bank accounts that have been dormant for 10 years or more to a new entity, the Deposit Insurance Corp. of Japan, charged with distributing the funds to nonprofits, according to The Japan Times.

 

Under the new law, banks are required to send a notice to an account owner if the account balance is ¥10,000 or more and nine years have passed since the last withdrawal from or deposit into an account. If the account owner fails to respond, make a withdrawal or deposit additional funds within one year, the account will be considered dormant. Accounts below the ¥10,000 threshold without the same types of activity will be considered dormant after 10 years, but no due diligence procedures will be required, according to another Japan Times article.

 

Lawmakers in Japan estimate that the new law will result in ¥50 billion to ¥60 billion (approximately $440 million to $525 million) in annual funding for the nation’s nonprofit organizations, according to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ). Religious and political organizations will be prohibited from applying for the funds.

 

Property owners will retain the ability to recover their dormant funds even after they are transferred to the Deposit Insurance Corp. Previously, banks were permitted to retain unclaimed funds as profit, WSJ reports.

 

While nonprofits are understandably pleased with the new law, it is not without critics. Some opponents question the new funding organization’s transparency and ability to prevent misuse of the funds. The law calls on Japan’s Cabinet Office to oversee the Deposit Insurance Corp., which is also charged with developing policies for use of the funds. According to a South China Morning Post article written when similar legislation was consideration in 2014, concerns about the proper use of funds are fueled by previous social programs. Following 2011 natural disasters, large sums intended for earthquake and tsunami relief reportedly were channeled to unrelated projects.

 

Japan is not the first country to implement an unclaimed property program designed to fund projects benefiting the society. The United Kingdom, for example, enacted the Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Act of 2008 with similar goals.

 

 

Tags:  Japan  unclaimed property 

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Unclaimed property in Australia

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Map courtesy of VectorPortal.com

 

One of the more interesting unclaimed property regulatory structures is home to Australia, where the federal government, two territories and six states maintain unclaimed property statutes. Following is an overview of unclaimed property practices in Australia.  

 

Federal

Unclaimed property practices throughout Australia are regulated by the Banking Act of 1959, as amended. The Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC) is the primary federal custodian of dormant bank accounts, credit union and building society accounts, insurance policies, company shares, lottery prizes and company deregistration proceeds. The most recent amendment to the law occurred in 2015 when dormancy periods, which previously had been decreased from seven years to three years, returned to seven years.

 

The law requires “authorized deposit-taking institutions” to report principal, interest, dividends, bonuses and profits legally payable to account owners when there has been no owner activity, including withdrawals or deposits, for seven years. Some of the noteworthy exceptions include: money held in retirement savings accounts, money in an account in a currency other than Australian dollars, money in children’s accounts, and farm management deposits. If conflicts arise, Australian federal laws preempt state and territorial statutes.

 

New South Wales

All New South Wales enterprises holding unclaimed money as of June 30 in any year are expected to escheat the funds by Oct. 31 to the New South Wales Office of Revenue. Enterprises are defined as: people, partnerships, associations, societies, institutions, organizations or other bodies. Amounts of more than $100 must be reported, while reporting amounts less than $100 is optional. Any reported amount over $20 will be listed for claim. Trust money in any amount, held under the Property Stock and Business Agents Act 2002, as well as New South Wales Public Superannuation (pension) Fund unclaimed benefits also must be reported.

 

Queensland

Unclaimed property regulations in Queensland are managed by the Public Trustee. Entities expected to report include companies, hospitals and institutions, trustees and estate executors, local authorities, landlords, pawnbrokers, traders with uncollected goods, and those who possess proceeds from the sale of unclaimed stored good (after deducting money owed).

 

Reporting is expected for:

  • Funds held by companies if the owner cannot be located after a minimum of two years.
  • Unclaimed property held by hospitals, including jewelry and money that has remained unclaimed for a minimum of three months.
  • Estate entitlements where beneficiaries cannot be located.
  • Trust accounts held by solicitors, public accountants, real estate agents, auctioneers and other agents who operate a trust account.
  • Net proceeds of the sale of freehold properties where rates and charges remain unpaid for three years.
  • Contents of rental accommodations under residential tenancies.
  • Unredeemed pawned goods, uncollected trade goods, uncollected stored goods under storage liens.

South Australia

Companies headquartered in South Australia and anyone conducting business in South Australia is expected to report unclaimed property over $10 to the Department of Treasury and Finance. The dormancy period is six years. In January of the seventh year, notice of the unclaimed property must be published in the Government Gazette. After two additional years, remaining unclaimed amounts must be paid to the treasurer in January of the ninth year.

 

Tasmania

In Tasmania, funds from estates where beneficiaries cannot be located are reported by default via the Public Trustee’s mandate to administer estates and trusts. Other unclaimed property is reportable to the Department of Treasury and Finance by any company registered and incorporated in Tasmania; any person, firm, body or institution carrying on business as traders and having a principal office or place of business in Tasmania; and state entities, including government agencies, government businesses and local councils. Unclaimed property includes amounts greater than $50 that have been dormant for a minimum of 12 months, including funds paid into a court in Tasmania and any money payable to the treasurer under any of the state’s laws.

 

Victoria

All Victorian businesses and trustees must report unclaimed money to the State Revenue Office annually by May 31. Any property valued at $20 or more, net of any reasonable expenses, is reportable. The dormancy period is a minimum of 12 months as of March 1 of the current year. Amounts under $20 for the same owner may be aggregated over multiple 12-month periods.

 

Western Australia

Only organizations based in Western Australia are required to report to the Department of Treasury. With the exception of bank accounts, life insurance, company shares and pensions, all types of unclaimed money are reportable under the Unclaimed Money Act of 1990. Amounts of $100 or more that have been held for six years are considered unclaimed. Treasury accepts voluntary reporting of amounts under $100. Notifications of amounts that have been held for at least two years also may be accepted by Treasury. Government agencies must hold funds for the mandatory six years, however.

 

Each January, organizations must provide Treasury with a summary of the unclaimed monies they hold. In the second half of the year, Treasury will issue a Register of Unclaimed Money. The public have until July 31 the following year to claim the property. The following August, organizations transfer the balance of any remaining unclaimed funds to Treasury.

 

Australian Capital Territory

Accounts, including deposits, dividends, trust account funds, interest, refunds, overpayments, sale proceeds and bonds, are considered unclaimed if they have been inactive for more than six years. Trust money held by licensed agents (including real estate, travel, business, stock and station and employment agents) is considered unclaimed after three years of inactivity.

 

When a company is holding unclaimed property, it must enter details of the unclaimed property into an alphabetical register by Jan. 31. No later March 31 of the next year, the company must publish a notice in a newspaper circulating in the Australian Capital Territory with information regarding claiming the funds. All property remaining unclaimed after one year from the date of publication must be paid to the Public Trustee and Guardian within one month after the end of the year.

 

Northern Territory

Companies with headquarters or a principal office in the Northern Territory are expected to report unclaimed deposits, securities and other funds payable (dividends, bonuses or profits, for example). The dormancy period is generally three years. By the end of February following the dormancy period, holders submit a register of unclaimed property to the Territory Revenue Office for publication in the Government Gazette. Remaining fund balances are to be paid no later than 13 months after the date of publication.  

 

 

Information for this article was compiled from the linked government websites as well as a recent UPPO International Escheatment webinar, led by Darren Jack, director of business development for AssetMine Global Inc.

 

 

Tags:  Australia  unclaimed property 

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