Join now!   |   Subscribe   |   Pay an Invoice   |   Sign In
Unclaimed Property Focus
Blog Home All Blogs
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 Tim Dressen via tim@uppo.org 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.

 

Search all posts for:   

 

Top tags: unclaimed property  Compliance  education  UPPO  audits  Delaware  due diligence  litigation  Advocacy  reform  Members  ULC  RUUPA  UP101  Gift Cards  legislation  UP Laws  reporting  Uniform Law Commission  fall reporting  Holders Seminar  UPPO Annual Conference  Canada  service providers  UPPO Asks  VDAs  uniform unclaimed property act  Annual Conference  california  Pennsylvania 

Two sessions focusing on ULC reform developments

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Uniform Law Commission’s (ULC) effort to revise the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act (RUUPA) has captured the attention of the unclaimed property profession since it picked up the issue in 2013.  As we draw closer to the project end date of July 2016, there’s much that’s not clear and awaiting a decision. At the 2016 UPPO Annual Conference, March 20 – 23; Palm Springs, Calif. there will be two sessions dedicated to talking nothing but ULC. These sessions feature the leaders in unclaimed property reform, and represent unique stakeholder perspectives. If you’re interested in staying in the know, add at least one of these sessions to your personal conference schedule.


Unclaimed Property Reform: Where are we now?
Monday, March 21; 9:15 – 10:15 a.m.
The stakeholders  part of the effort to revise the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act will participate in a moderated, roundtable discussion to share viewpoints on the key issues being grappled with in the Uniform Law Commission forum. This session is sure to be engaging and informative with the number of perspectives represented.


Panelists:
Carolyn Atkinson, advisor to the ULC drafting committee on behalf of the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators
Kendall Houghton, UPPO Government Relations and Advocacy Committee (GRAC) co-chair and UPPO’s ULC spokesperson
Michael Houghton, ULC drafting committee co-chair
Ethan Millar, advisor to the ULC drafting committee on behalf of the American Bar Association
David Westmark, Thrivent Financial 


Moderator:
Debbie L. Zumoff, UPPO ULC work group chair


ULC session: Where the ULC stands on our issues
Tuesday, March 22; 11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
Interact with and hear from some of UPPO’s advocacy leaders during this session which will catch you up on where the RUUPA stands on the issues that UPPO members identified as priorities. UPPO has been engaged in the ULC reform process in various capacities, and have been driven by representing our members and the issues most important to you.  


Speakers:
Karen Anderson, UPPO GRAC co-chair
Michelle Andre, UPPO GRAC co-chair
John Coalson, UPPO GRAC member
Kendall Houghton, UPPO GRAC co-chair and UPPO’s ULC spokesperson

Early bird registration savings end Jan. 27 -- don’t miss out and register today!

 

 

Tags:  reform  ULC  unclaimed property  Uniform Unclaimed Property Act 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

A Look at the Trends Shaping 2016

Posted By Administration, Thursday, January 7, 2016

With 2015 already beginning to fade away in the rearview mirror, the start of the new year is the perfect time to scan the landscape and consider what may await on the road ahead. No question, 2016 is shaping up to be an action-packed year. Courts are considering several noteworthy unclaimed property cases. States continue to focus on unclaimed property issues. Holders find themselves subject to daunting audits. And the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) is scheduled to wrap up with its work on the Revised Uniform Unclaimed Property Act (RUUPA). With so many things happening, we asked several UPPO members to share their insights into the trends that may ultimately define 2016 for unclaimed property professionals.

 

Audits

Unclaimed property audits are changing on multiple fronts. For one, states are beginning to work with more audit firms. New names are joining familiar third-party auditors Kelmar and Verus, and this trend is likely to continue as Delaware has made a concerted effort to diversify. While holders certainly have no sentimental attachment to the familiar audit firms, the introduction of new players can be problematic. New auditors introduce new tactics and methodologies, diluting an already inconsistent process even further.

 

“For holders, the fact that there are new audit firms that aren’t as experienced in the unclaimed property audit process can cut both ways,” says Susan Han, principal of Ryan’s Abandoned and Unclaimed Property Practice. “The auditing and scoping process can be frustrating because these auditors are not as seasoned in unclaimed property and don’t always take into consideration the immateriality of certain acquisitions and property types.”

 

Similarly, additional states are expanding their audit efforts.

 

“As a result of their collaboration on the RUUPA, states are working closer than they have in the past,” says Michelle Andre, managing member of Tre Towers Advisory Group, and UPPO Government Relations and Advocacy Committee (GRAC) co-chair. “I think you’ll see more audits and they’ll broaden to not just the usual suspects like Delaware, New Jersey and Massachusetts.”

 

In fact, some companies are already finding themselves subject to multiple simultaneous multi-state audits from separate audit firms.

 

“I think we’ll see more holders subject to two or three separate audits at the same time—perhaps even two or three multi-state audits—conducted by different contract audit firms,” says Kendall Houghton, partner at Alston & Bird LLP and GRAC co-chair. “The ability to dedicate adequate resources to the audit response and defense function becomes a real problem when dealing with multiple audits at the same time.”

 

As this audit expansion grows, holders who historically have not been audit targets may find themselves in the crosshairs. With large companies in heavily targeted industries increasingly strengthening their compliance practices and limiting their exposure, auditors may branch out.

 

“Given that many Fortune 1000 companies already have unclaimed property processes in place or have undergone unclaimed property exams, new audits will likely target middle market revenue companies and industries that haven’t historically been explored for audits,” says Han.

 

Litigation

When it comes to audit practices, all eyes are on Temple-Inland Inc. v. Cook, a court case that questions Delaware’s use of and methodology for estimation in audits. Even with a decision likely this year, the ultimate impact may still be years away, assuming the losing party challenges the decision. Thus, additional litigation related to audits is likely.

 

“I think we’ll see more litigation involving audits, aimed at figuring out why companies got selected for audits and questioning how audits are conducted,” says Jamie Ryan, member with Bailey Cavalieri LLC. “I also think we’re going to see an increase in litigation because holders have become more educated. They know they have legal rights they can assert.”

 

Andre also sees more litigation aimed at defining the rights of states and their audit firms. “Companies are beginning to challenge whether the audit process entails illegal search and seizure,” she says. “The decisions for cases like Plains All American v. Cook will impact the way holders look at audits and how states conduct audits.”

 

Most recent unclaimed property litigation has been between holders and states, owners and holders, owners and states, or holders and auditors. However, like the seminal jurisdictional cases (Texas v. New Jersey, Pennsylvania v. New York and Delaware v. New York), more cases involving states battling each other could occur in the near future.

 

“Delaware law conflicts with the laws of many other states in regard to domicile of limited liability companies, so that could be an area of litigation—disputes between states,” says Chris Hopkins, partner with Crowe and Horwath LLP. “That could be very interesting to watch.”

 

Advocacy and legislation

Holders and states alike have been diligently working to promote their preferred revisions to the Revised Uniform Unclaimed Property Act (RUUPA). The ULC is expected to issue its final draft this summer, but that is by no means the end of the advocacy effort.

 

“Even though the ULC will promulgate a 2016 RUUPA in the summer, that just means it’s been adopted by the commissioners,” says Houghton. “There will need to be subsequent movement through state legislatures, so that act will be a significant focus through 2016 and beyond. It will likely take at least four to five years to see the full first wave of adoption.”

 

It’s anyone’s guess which aspects of the new act the states will ultimately adopt. Educating lawmakers and convincing them of the need for laws that are fair not only to the states themselves, but also the owners and holders will likely be difficult.

 

“It’s going to take a lot to get them to come around,” says Marcella Easly, senior compliance advisor at Unclaimed Property Consulting & Reporting LLC. “The state administrators are willing to work with the holders to change, but when the legislators get involved, it gets tough.”

 

As states prepare for the RUUPA, some may preemptively begin introducing legislation aimed at supporting their positions.

 

“The states may look to the recent 2015 drafts of the revised 1995 Uniform Unclaimed Property Act and begin introducing legislation to clarify their collective view of how unclaimed property compliance should be administered,” says Debbie L. Zumoff, chief compliance officer at Keane and chair of UPPO’s ULC workgroup. “We may see some early legislative proposals that would view securities, broker-dealer accounts and mutual funds, for example, via the catch-all provision of the laws, in an effort to reinforce an inactivity dormancy trigger for such asset classes. This would be a retreat from any notion of returned mail as a dormancy trigger for securities related assets and instead promote the notion of inactivity alone, increasing the potential for more assets to be presumed abandoned.”

 

States may also seek to limit their liability for the growth of property they liquidate.  

 

“We may see increased liability left at the threshold of the holder community,” Zumoff says. “States may propose legislation that will enhance the due diligence responsibilities of holders prior to reporting and limit state indemnification to the value of the property at the time it was delivered to the state. So if a holder delivers property to the state valued at $1,000 dollars and 10 years from now it’s worth $10,000, but the state sold it shortly after receiving same, the state might only indemnify the holder for the original $1,000 value, not the $9,000 growth. That sets up a catch-22 when it comes to owner claims for the property years after reporting. The states may not want to assume the liability for the growth.”

 

Karen Anderson, vice president, reporting compliance at Keane and GRAC co-chair, agrees that states and holders alike will likely ramp up their advocacy efforts before the new uniform act is issued.

 

“In spring 2016, some states may try to change their laws to indicate that the Derivative Rights Doctrine doesn’t apply to things like rebates or gift cards or business credits,” she says. “Also, businesses and their trade associations may push back by attempting to pass more business to business exemptions, because the ULC likely won't recommend a business exemption in the revised uniform law. So, business groups may advocate more intensely for those exemptions prior to the revised uniform act being adopted.”

 

Houghton also expects holders to continue seeking opportunities to fight for their legislative agenda in addition to defending against onerous state-backed legislation.

 

“I think holders will continue to identify opportunities to improve states’ unclaimed property laws and will promote legislation for that purpose,” she says. “In 2015, for example, the introduction of a B2B exemption in Nevada was a holder-introduced initiative. In Michigan, there was the recent enactment of laws to improve the audit process in the state. And, certainly, holders supported a Delaware law to render permanent the availability of the secretary of state’s VDA program. Holders are increasingly doing a better job of identifying specific areas to improve the landscape and fairness.”

 

Looking ahead

From landmark court decisions to the RUUPA final draft, 2016 is shaping up to be a significant year in the unclaimed property world. UPPO will continue to track and report on these and other developing trends throughout the year. Watch this blog for updates and attend UPPO educational events to help you adapt to the rapidly evolving unclaimed property environment.

 

Tags:  advocacy  audits  legislation  litigation  RUUPA  ULC  unclaimed property 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

2015 litigation roundup

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The past year saw several noteworthy cases related to unclaimed property move through the U.S. court system. As they progress, these cases could provide clarity regarding a variety of issues, including states’ estimation techniques, gift card liability, the Derivative Rights Doctrine, states’ due diligence responsibilities,  and federal vs. state jurisdiction. Following is a roundup of the most interesting unclaimed property cases filed and proceeding through the courts in 2015.

 

Temple-Inland Inc. v. Cook

Expected to have a significant effect on the unclaimed property industry, Temple-Inland Inc. v. Cook looks at the legality of Delaware’s estimation techniques. The plaintiff company was audited by Delaware through its third-party agent, Kelmar. A single payroll check in the amount of $147.30 that should have been escheated to Delaware, resulted in an estimate of approximately $2 million (eventually reduced to $1.3 million) due to the state. In May 2014, Temple-Inland filed suit, alleging violations of several federal laws based on the auditor’s estimation methods.

 

“What’s interesting about this case is that it could blow up Delaware’s whole process for extrapolating a liability due to Delaware based on very small actual amounts,” says Chris Hopkins, partner with Crowe and Horwath LLP.

 

In March 2015, a U.S. district court dismissed one count of the compliant, which alleged violation of and preemption by federal common law. However, the case is moving forward based on the remaining counts.

 

“The fact that Temple-Inland will likely go to trial is an indication that the claims have at least enough merit for the court to hear the case,” says Tom Wrocklage, state and local tax manager with Crowe Horwath LLP. “A ruling on this case would resolve a lot of questions about Delaware’s estimation techniques.”

 

Osram Sylvania Inc. v. Cook et. al.

Another case that examines the legalities of Delaware’s estimation methods is Osram Sylvania Inc. v. Cook et. al. Lighting manufacturer, Osram Sylvania, filed suit in December 2014 challenging Delaware’s estimation methods, posing similar arguments to those in the Temple-Inland case.

 

After the memorandum opinion issued in Temple-Inland, Osram filed a Notice of Voluntary Dismissal without prejudice. Because most of the allegations of violations of federal law are being contemplated in the Temple-Inland case, this Notice of Voluntary Dismissal was likely based on these issues being addressed by Temple-Inland. Since the court closed the case without prejudice, it could resume if the issues at hand aren’t resolved by a Temple-Inland decision.

 

Delaware ex rel. French v. Card Compliant LLC

On Nov. 23, 2015, a Delaware Superior Court denied a motion to dismiss the 2013 qui tam (whistle blower) case, Delaware ex rel. French v. Card Compliant LLC. Filed by a former employee of Card Compliant, the lawsuit targets a third-party company that retailers use to move their gift card liability outside of Delaware. Among the allegations, the plaintiffs claim that the company didn’t account for the transfer of liability as it was specified in contracts with the retailers.  Liability wasn’t truly transferred and, thus, the retailers had the obligation to remit unclaimed property to Delaware but didn’t do so.

 

The case raises the question whether property holders can shift their liability via a contractual arrangement with another company. Because of the allegations brought in this case, however, the court is more likely to focus on technical questions. Did the parties follow their contractual obligations? If not, is there a liability to Delaware for failure to report unclaimed property?

 

With the court’s rejection of the dismissal motion, litigation continues.

 

JLI Invest S.A. et al. v. Cook et al.

A case addressing the Derivative Rights Doctrine, JLI Invest S.A. et al. v. Cook et al. also tackles the interplay between federal securities law, international law, and Delaware state law. This case involves two Belgian doctors who were partial owners of a company that merged with a publicly traded Delaware company. Delaware alleged that the doctors were no longer in contact with the company, so their stock was unclaimed property. Within three days of escheatment, Delaware sold the shares for $1.7 million. The doctors learned of the sale when they later attempted to sell shares for $13.72 million.

 

The lawsuit addresses the question why Delaware, if acting as a custodian of the unclaimed property on behalf of its owners, liquidated the shares rather than simply holding them. The suit also questions whether Delaware has the right to require the escheatment of property belonging to people with foreign addresses.

 

“If Delaware even has the right to get this property, it seems that the state should have a heightened fiduciary responsibility to people outside of this country who may not have unclaimed property laws,” says Jamie Ryan, member with Bailey Cavalieri LLC. “These folks may have no concept under their country’s laws that they need to have ongoing contact with the property holder. The concept of unclaimed property may be completely absent. So hopefully we’ll get some guidance out of this case.”

 

Plains All American Pipeline L.P. v. Thomas Cook et al.

A limited partnership incorporated in Delaware, Plains All American Pipeline (Plains), received notification in 2014 that Delaware’s third-party agent, Kelmar, would be conducting an audit of the company. Plains objected to the initial information request, claiming, in part, that the company was being audited not because of any suspicion of wrongdoing, but rather because of its profitability. When Delaware dismissed the company’s objections, Plains filed suit. Among the complaint’s allegations, Plains argues that Kelmar’s request for information about subsidiaries organized outside of Delaware constitutes illegal search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment. The company believes the state and its agent have no right to that information and, if they did, they would need to have reasonable grounds to search for it. The complaint also directly challenges Delaware’s right to use estimation.

“The most interesting part about the Plains case is that the audit hadn’t even started,” Ryan says. “They said the fact that Delaware is asking for certain information violates the Fourth Amendment, which is a very interesting point of view.”

 

National Freight Inc v. Sidamon-Eristoff

National Freight is a New Jersey trucking company subject to federal law—the Interstate Commerce Act. In 2010, New Jersey began an unclaimed property audit of the company. After the audit, National Freight filed suit, challenging the audit. In part, the challenge took on the method used to calculate the penalty portion of the assessment, saying it included disbursements and credits owed to states other than New Jersey, including states that exempt certain things like business to business property. The suit claims the penalty calculation didn’t take into account other states’ exemptions.

 

The compliant also argues that New Jersey is preempted from regulating certain parts of National Freight’s business, including pricing, routes and services provided, which are regulated under federal law. Because the property type challenged in this case—customer credits—is part of pricing, National Freight argues it falls under the Interstate Commerce Act rather than state law. The company also claims the state is imposing a burden on interstate commerce, which is prohibited under the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause.

 

“This is an important case because we have a lot of businesses regulated by federal law—banking, securities and brokers, for example—who will be interested in the preemption argument and the interplay between federal and state law, for which we currently have very few case law decisions,” Ryan says.

 

Taylor v. Yee

Since 2007, California has required holders to send owners a due diligence letter and file a preliminary report to the state, which then sends a second notice. After the owner fails to respond to both notices, the holder remits the property to the state. The plaintiff in Taylor v. Yee argues that California should search its other databases to find better addresses for the second, state-sent notice. The Ninth Circuit Court’s decisions have upheld the state’s process.

 

The plaintiff has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Ninth Circuit Court’s decision. On Sept. 8, 2015, UPPO submitted an amicus brief, supporting the plaintiff’s petition. The defendant responded by filing a motion opposing UPPO’s rights to file an amicus brief. Although it is common for a defendant to argue against the content of an amicus brief, opposing the right to file a brief entirely is much less common. The court has not yet respond to the defendant’s motion – to date the court’s conference has been rescheduled four times.

 

Kemper companies v. Michael Frerichs and Verus Financial LLC

Three Kemper Corporation insurance companies filed suit on Oct. 26, 2015, against the Illinois state treasurer and auditor Verus Financial. The suit addresses the question of when the obligation of a life insurance company to pay benefits arises, and when the applicable state dormancy period begins. The plaintiff takes issue with the “Death Master File (DMF) standard” that would compel an insurer to pay benefits upon an insured’s name appearing on the DMF rather than when a claim is filed. Learn more about this case.

 

For additional information about noteworthy unclaimed property cases, check out UPPO’s govWATCH website. If you’re planning to attend the 2016 Annual Conference, March 20 – 23 in Palm Springs, Calif., check out the session titled 2015 in Review: Litigation Update, for additional discussion.

 

Tags:  litigation  unclaimed property 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Unclaimed Property & Escheat: The New Frontier in Oil & Gas

Posted By Will King, associate general counsel & project manager at Keane , Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The following article originally appeared in the Petroleum Accounting and Financial Management Journal and was republished on Keane’s Unclaimed Property Blog. It is published below with the permission of the University of North Texas Institute of Petroleum Accounting.

 

As domestic energy production has boomed over the last several years, an affiliated risk item has been growing on the books and records of oil and gas firms. Specifically, the unpaid amounts associated with suspended and/or unknown owners creates “unclaimed property” for a company, which must be reported to various states after statutorily defined periods of time have elapsed. As states have taken in more and more unclaimed property in recent years—at least partially to mitigate widening budget shortfalls— enforcement of state unclaimed property laws through audits also has increased, creating large and costly headaches for companies.

 

Compliance Challenges

All states, several territories, and a handful of Canadian provinces have unclaimed property laws. Broadly speaking, these laws require “holders” (the term for an entity having an unclaimed property reporting obligation) to annually report property/funds that are unclaimed or uncashed by an owner. First, it is important to note that state unclaimed property laws apply to holders across many industries and extend to property types that go beyond mineral interest proceeds (such as payroll checks, stock, benefits items, accounts payable disbursements, and customer credits). Therefore, while mineral interest proceeds may be the most significant source of liability for an oil and gas firm, there may be other liabilities in other departments or areas of the company that also require attention.

 

Second, unclaimed property compliance obligations vary among states. Determining which state law applies to a given obligation is driven by the last known address of the owner of those funds. The bright line test to determine which state unclaimed property law applies was articulated by the Supreme Court in Texas v. New Jersey (379 U.S.674, 1965). In this case, the Court indicated that property is first reportable to the state of last known address of the owner on the books and records of the holder, and, if that is unknown, to the state of incorporation of the holder. Thus, determining which dormancy period applies (the amount of time an obligation is outstanding prior to being reportable), the state for which a report must be filed, the amount of due diligence that must be performed prior to reporting that obligation, and the type and time that records must be maintained, all hinges on an owner’s last known address, not any nexus the company may have with a given state. While unclaimed property feels (and often resembles) a tax, this is one of the greatest differentiations from the traditional tax arena.

 

Within each state law, challenges and complexities make unclaimed property reporting extremely burdensome for holders. Aside from the aforementioned variances among state laws, mineral interests specifically have a host of additional nuances.

 

For example in Ohio, mineral interest properties have a one year dormancy period. In Kentucky, reporting of unclaimed mineral proceeds is exempt entirely. Holders and their advisors must interpret state unclaimed property laws to determine which suspense codes rise to a legal level of being escheatable suspense. In some states with “current to pay” reporting requirements, holders must not only remit the unpaid funds that have been outstanding for the “dormancy period” (typically between three and five years), but also “current” funds that have not yet fully aged. In Texas, those funds must be reported with a special attached code. In Oklahoma, funds unpaid and accumulated as a result of a forced pooling order are reported to the Oklahoma Corporations Commission rather than the Treasurer’s office. Within preparation of the reports themselves, some states require property and well-specific information or special supplemental reports giving greater details of the property than is necessary in a standard unclaimed property report. Lastly, a growing number of escrow or trust schemes that attempt to force remittance of unpaid funds to a geographic region tied to production potentially conflict with the Supreme Court’s dictated last known address jurisdictional scheme.

 

Enforcement Trends

With all of the above nuances, it’s easy to see how compliance costs and resource dedication can be high for firms with growing suspense account ledgers. However, these outlays can pale in comparison to the costs faced by a holder undergoing an unclaimed property audit on behalf of a state.

 

It is most important to note that unclaimed property audits, on behalf of multiple states at the same time, are often conducted by private, third-party firms who are paid a portion of the assessment they make against a holder. Because these firms are paid on a contingency basis, we often find aggressive and novel interpretations of state law being made by a private enterprise with a pecuniary interest in the resolution of open issues.

 

Exams conducted by private firms on behalf of Delaware, in particular, have notoriously taken several years to complete. Further, with a Delaware lookback period as far back as 1981, holders are put in the position of potentially defending estimated unclaimed property liabilities that extend far beyond the years for which they may retain records. With some exams having as many as 30 to 40 participating states (all being coordinated through one or two private firms), it is easy to see how evaluating compliance can be more resource and cost intensive than effecting compliance in the first place.

 

In the oil and gas space, in particular, currently there is a “cycle” of unclaimed property exams. Further, states such as Texas appear more apt than ever before to participate in third party exams of oil and gas holders. For many auditors, the nuances of mineral interest and revenue accounting are foreign, so the holder must explain suspense codes, ledgers, joint or working interest arrangements, and the like, which is a time consuming and exacerbating process. With no statute of limitations in many states, the penalties and interest associated with past due suspense amounts can often times exceed the principal liability.

 

One major concern for companies is the use of estimation and extrapolation to calculate liabilities for the years that a holder may not have adequate records to prove the disposition of an item (i.e., paid to an owner, escheated, etc.). In those instances, a mathematical formula creates an error ratio that is, at least in part, based on amounts owed to various states and amounts already appropriately reported. Those numbers are multiplied against revenues for the prior look-back period audit years to create an unclaimed property liability. With no underlying owners associated with this calculated liability, the entire sum is reportable to the holder’s state of incorporation. This is the reason why Delaware claims such a disproportionate amount of unclaimed property; it is the state’s third-largest source of revenue and accounts for nearly 15% of its operating budget.

 

Mergers and Acquisitions Considerations

In the oil and gas space, one of the greatest sources of unclaimed property liability is acquired suspense. With prices at current levels, many analysts expect merger, acquisition, and divestiture activity to increase throughout 2015. There are important unclaimed property implications with these transactions.

 

The important thing to remember with such corporate actions is that the dormancy period of an item does not restart upon acquisition. Thus, if a firm acquires old and past due suspense in a property or well acquisition, it also is acquiring the potential penalties and interest associated with that past due suspense. It is important to make unclaimed property a part of the deal’s due diligence process by asking pointed questions about compliance and audit history.

 

Mitigating Unclaimed Property Risks

Despite all of these challenges, there are steps holders can undertake to mitigate unclaimed property risk. Among them:

 

·  Documenting robust policies and procedures or working with unclaimed property experts to build a comprehensive compliance program;

·  Considering Voluntary Disclosure Agreements or other voluntary compliance programs for first-time filers (note: each state’s program is different so it is best to speak to an advisor prior to enrolling) to mitigate penalty and interest assessments;

·  Utilizing owner location resources to locate better addresses or next of kin to reduce the amount of property that may be considered unclaimed;

·  Understanding and articulating your rights under exam to reduce burdens and costs.

 

The current frontier of unclaimed property compliance and enforcement is one of the most arduous that holders and practitioners have ever seen. The key for an oil and gas company to weather the current and future environments hinges upon understanding state laws and monitoring trends, legislative updates, and litigation to stay abreast of developments and accordingly adjusting policies to adapt.

 

For more information, contact the University of North Texas Institute of Petroleum Accounting.

 

 

Tags:  compliance  gas  oil  unclaimed property 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

January UPPO events spotlight emerging trends and the Annual Conference

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, December 22, 2015

UPPO has announced two educational events aimed at giving unclaimed property professionals a deeper look at emerging unclaimed property trends, and a preview of the association’s Annual Conference. Both events are scheduled on Jan. 20; 2016.

 

Lunch ’n Learn - Los Angeles

Part of the association’s recently introduced Lunch ’n Learn educational program, UPPO’s Los Angeles event will provide attendees with a greater understanding of the emerging trends affecting their profession. The event will include a review of unclaimed property laws, an explanation of general compliance requirements, and a discussion of the audit and enforcement environment, and legislative, regulatory and legal updates. Time will be available for peer networking as well.

 

Janet Gagliano, partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and national leader of the abandoned and unclaimed property practice, and Jack Schwartz, director of PwC’s abandoned and unclaimed property practice, will lead the session.

 

“Holders are more frequently facing multi-state audits, rather than just audits by Delaware and one or two other participating states as in the past,” says Schwartz. This expansion of state audits has really changed the landscape of what Holders need to do on a go-forward basis.”

 

To increase your understanding of the evolving landscape, register for UPPO’s Lunch ‘n Learn - Los Angeles today. Members and nonmembers are able to attend for $59 (includes lunch, education, networking, and one CPE credit).

 

Annual Conference Preview Webinar

Members planning to attend—or still deciding whether to attend—the 2016 UPPO Annual Conference in Palm Springs, Calif., can get a sneak peak of the event by participating in the Jan. 20 Annual Conference Preview webinar from 2 – 3 p.m. EST. Presenters will provide helpful tips to maximizing the conference experience and will preview the hot topics sessions and the new industry-specific education track. The webinar will also include a legislative and regulatory update and time for conference-related questions. This event is free and exclusively for members.

 

Presenters include conference veterans: Yudit Freda, Carla McGlynn, Jonida Shehu, Karen Stevens, and Leigh Underwood.

 

Learn more about the Annual Conference Preview webinar and register today.

 


Tags:  audits  compliance  education  unclaimed property 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 
Page 33 of 60
 |<   <<   <  28  |  29  |  30  |  31  |  32  |  33  |  34  |  35  |  36  |  37  |  38  >   >>   >| 
Membership Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal