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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 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.

 

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Maine Amendment Alters Reporting Rules for Gift Obligations

Posted By Administration, Friday, February 21, 2020

In January, Maine Gov. Janet Mills signed into law Maine LD 1612. The bill amends sections of the Maine unclaimed property law, specifically those provisions related to “gift obligations,” a defined property type in the Maine unclaimed property law. Under the amendment, the amount of a gift obligation’s net value that is unclaimed under the Maine Revised Unclaimed Property Act will eventually be phased out under the following schedule:

  • 60% for gift cards issued or with their most recent transaction, whichever is later, in 2019 or earlier.
  • 40% for gift cards issued or with their most recent transaction, whichever is later, in 2020.
  • 20% for gift cards issued or with their most recent transaction, whichever is later, in 2021.
  • 0% for gift cards issued or with their most recent transaction, whichever is later, in 2022 or after.

Gift obligations are a uniquely defined property type under Maine’s unclaimed property law, handled separately from the provisions related to “stored value obligations,” which are not addressed by the new law change. “Stored value cards” are treated separately under Maine law, so holders are advised to note the distinctions between gift obligations covered by this legislation and stored value cards. 

 

The legislation will be effective 90 days after the Maine legislature adjourns (adjournment is estimated to be in mid-April).

 

 

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2020 Spring Reporting Guide

Posted By Administration, Thursday, February 13, 2020

Spring reporting season is again upon us. Several 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. 

 

Connecticut 
Report due: March 30, 2020
Extensions: Extensions may be 
requested.


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

 

Notes from UPPO’s state administrator survey:

  • Holder instruction manual has been updated in the past three months.
  • Please send all Connecticut reports to our lockbox location – PO Box 150435, Hartford, CT  06115-0435.  This is not a post office box and can accept overnight or certified deliveries. The office’s new physical location as of Jan. 10, 2020, is: 165 Capitol Ave., Hartford, CT  06106. 


Delaware
Report due: March 1, 2020
Extensions: Extensions may be 
requested.


Contact: 
escheat.holderquestions@delaware.gov or (302) 577-8782
Delaware holder resources.

 

Notes from UPPO’s state administrator survey:

  • Holder instruction manual has been updated in the past three months.
  • All filings must be made via the website. No paper or disk filings accepted. Holders may upload a NAUPA II-compliant file (many properties), or for holders with only a few properties to report, Delaware offers a “Manual Online Reporting” feature, where each property may be entered individually.
  • If reporting on a consolidated basis, please provide list of legal entities and FEINs that are included in the report. If using a third-party administrator to file, please provide current holder contact information, including updated information in the NAUPA file. Please clarify whether filing as a bank, insurance company, or “other”/corporation, to allow tracking of timely filings.
  • Payment is due upon filing.
  • Delaware made significant changes to its unclaimed property statute in SB 13, enacted February 2017.


Florida 
Report due: April 30, 2020
Extensions: Extensions may be 
requested.


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

 

Notes from UPPO’s state administrator survey:

  • New holders can create their own Unclaimed Property ID. 
  • Holders can use online template for cash, securities and stock accounts with no limit to the number of owners for free.
  • Online reports only.
  • Failure to report complete information is an ongoing issue. Be sure to provide a full name and address. Make sure your data is in the correct field on the report.


Illinois 
Report due: May 1, 2020
Extensions: Extensions may be 
requested.


Contact: 
Email form, (800) 961-8303
Illinois holder resources.

 

Michigan

Report due: July 1, 2020

Extensions: Extensions may be requested by email.

 

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

Michigan holder resources.

 

Notes from UPPO’s state administrator survey:

  • Updated holder instruction manual expected in February 2020.
  • Holders can now report properties and remit payments electronically.
  • Michigan allows for aggregate reporting but encourages all holders to report detailed individual properties to avoid having claimants return to them to clarify which aggregate property their funds are in. As always, the state expects holders to provide as much identifying, verifying information as possible. Without all information, claimants sometimes are referred back to holders for verification purposes. 
  • Because CEPAS has changed its company ID, holders will need to update their information with a new number provided on the payment website. 
  • EFT at the time of filing is the state’s preferred payment option. Because not every holder wants to participate in ACH debit, they may send a check if needed.
  • Please address remittance submissions to “MI Dept of Treasury Unclaimed Property” for improved routing.
  • Michigan is participating in the “TW” (tax withheld) deduction code recommended by NAUPA. Michigan is also developing a new relationship type for “contingent beneficiary” for holders to use on insurance properties – the code has not been confirmed as yet (NAUPA does not endorse a code at all; Michigan is researching options). Information for holders has been clearly posted on the state’s website.

 

New York 
Report due: March 10, 2020
Extensions: Extensions may be 
requested. 

Contact:  
nysrpu@osc.ny.gov or (800) 221-9311
New York holder resources.

 

Notes from UPPO’s state administrator survey:

  • Holder instruction manual has been updated in the past three months.
  • Excel formatted reports can now be sent via secure file upload. A new template is available for securities remittance correspondence. Uploaded files will use an electronic VCL (New York's summary sheet). Use only the Excel template provided on the website
  • The Handbook for Reporters is getting a new look with a quick reference sheet in the front of each industry section, with some parts already completed.
  • When companies report using NY or NAUPA formats, they should use the property type code to correspond with the format chosen. Do not mix the code/format. Also, remember to use relationship codes for multiple owner accounts. Not only will it increase the likeliness that the state will pay claims correctly in the future, but it reduces the number of times the state needs to reach back to the reporting company for account title clarification.
  • EFT payment at the time of reporting is not required, but remittance and report details are expected at the same time.

 

Pennsylvania 
Report due: April 15, 2020
Extensions: Extensions may be 
requested.  

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

Notes from UPPO’s state administrator survey:

 

Texas

Report due: July 1, 2020

Extensions: Does not accept extension requests.

 

Contact: up.holder@cpa.texas.gov or (800) 321-2274

Texas holder resources.

 

Notes from UPPO’s state administrator survey:

  • Holder instruction manual has been updated in the past three months.

 

Vermont 
Report due: May 1, 2020
Extensions: Extension requests may be submitted in writing to the Unclaimed Property Division of the State of Vermont Office of the Treasurer at least 30 days before the reporting deadline. 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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Unclaimed Property News Roundup

Posted By Administration, Friday, February 7, 2020

Unclaimed property often makes news headlines beyond the frequent reports of states trying to return money to their citizens. Following is a recap of some recent stories getting news coverage from local media outlets. 

 

Judge Resigns Over Unclaimed Property

On Feb. 6, 2020, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on a Georgia Superior Court judge who agreed to resign from the court after being accused of pocketing unclaimed property. In 2017, a clerk notified the judge she planned to turn over abandoned funds from a 2002 case in which he served as a private attorney. His clients had placed funds into the court’s registry while the case was pending but never reclaimed them once the case was dismissed in 2009. The judge allegedly told the clerk to release the nearly $16,000 to him instead. 

 

Louisiana Officials Fight for Control of Unclaimed Funds

A battle is raging in Louisiana over whether the state can spend unclaimed funds. According to a Feb. 4, 2020, Minden Press-Herald article, the governor’s administration plans to sue the treasurer over his refusal to turn over approximately $25 million in abandoned funds held by the state to the general fund. The treasurer maintains that the state does not have the right to spend unclaimed property. 

 

Unclaimed Property Program Ads Cause Conflict

Unclaimed property is at the heart of a complaint by a Nebraska watchdog group against the state treasurer, according to a Jan. 7, 2020, Lincoln Journal Star report. The complaint alleges that the treasurer contracted with a former employer to produce ads promoting the state’s unclaimed property program without filing a conflict of interest statement with the state. 

 

Unclaimed Property Awaits Towns and Cities

Citizens and businesses aren’t the only parties with unclaimed property held by states across the nation. A Jan. 31, 2020, story by WMUR 9 TV revealed that New Hampshire is holding funds belonging to 126 of its municipalities. 

Tags:  unclaimed property 

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UPPO Advocacy Update: January 2020

Posted By Administration, Thursday, January 30, 2020

To help members remain aware of UPPO’s advocacy activities, the Unclaimed Property Focus blog presents the recurring Advocacy Update when legislatures are active or significant advocacy activity has occurred. Following are recent activities and trends from UPPO’s Government Relations and Advocacy Committee (GRAC).

 

Legislation and Regulation

Many states’ new legislative sessions reconvened less than a month ago, and 2020 is already shaping up to be an extremely busy year for unclaimed property legislation. 

 

Introduced in April 2019 and passed by the House in May 2019, Vermont H.550 – RUUPA-inspired legislation – is now under consideration by the state Senate. The Government Operations Committee is holding hearings about the bill. GRAC identified some concerns with the legislation and submitted comments to the state. 

 

Wisconsin has begun holding hearings regarding A.B. 752, and Oklahoma scheduled the first reading of H.B. 3714 for early February. Both bills are RUUPA-inspired legislation, although OK H.B. 3714 is still just a pre-file bill with no text available yet.  

 

Unclaimed property legislation is under consideration in Washington, with two separate RUUPA-inspired bills on the move. Stalled since last February, H.B. 1179S has been reintroduced. In addition, H.B. 2234 received its first reading and was referred to the Finance Committee. 

 

In Minnesota, UPPO continues participating in the work group convened by the state ULC commissioners to explore a RUUPA bill. Representatives from the Commerce Department, the unclaimed property administrator and industry stakeholders, are discussing the ramifications of potential unclaimed property legislation before it is introduced. UPPO appreciates Minnesota taking this proactive approach and appreciates the opportunity to participate in these meetings.  

 

Utah has published proposed rules clarifying when tax deferred accounts are reportable, elaborating on safe deposit box reporting processes and adding clarity about which ACH activity indicates owner interest, among other amendments. GRAC submitted comments and subsequently had a call with state administrator Dennis Johnston. He welcomed UPPO’s input and collaboration as they continue to fine-tune the regulations. The state plans to publish revised rules for another round of comments. 

 

Litigation

Unclaimed property litigation is also heating up early in 2020. Taking on similar issues addressed in the Univar case, additional lawsuits have been filed against Delaware by AT&T Capital Services, Eaton Corporation, Fruit of the Loom and Siemens USA Holdings. These lawsuits take aim at the state’s audit practices, including over-reaching data requests, estimation and the use of auditors under a contingent fee structure. 

 

As more and more legislatures and regulatory agencies take on issues affecting unclaimed property compliance, advocacy has become an increasingly important role for UPPO.

Please take a few minutes to complete our 
Government Relations and Advocacy Survey to help us build our grassroots network. Responses will give us the ability to mobilize UPPO members when we are faced with legislative and regulatory challenges and opportunities.

Tags:  Advocacy 

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Federal SECURE Act Affects Unclaimed Retirement Accounts

Posted By Administration, Thursday, January 23, 2020

Included in a federal appropriations act signed into law in December 2019 and effective on Jan. 1, 2020, the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act of 2019 makes several changes related to tax-advantaged retirement accounts. Some of these changes affect the treatment of such accounts as unclaimed property.

 

Among the changes is a shift in the age at which retirement plan participants must take required minimum distributions (RMDs). For anyone not reaching the age of 701/2 by the end of 2019, the RMD age shifts from 701/2 to 72. This change is noteworthy because unclaimed property holders use the RMD age to calculate dormancy for retirement accounts.   

 

Under the SECURE Act change, unclaimed property holders need to consider when the account owner turned 701/– before or after Dec. 31, 2019. However, while some state unclaimed property statutes refer to the RMD age without specifying what that age is, others specifically refer to 701/2. Until such states revise their statutes, their laws conflict with the new federal law, which may cause confusion over proper treatment of such accounts.

 

The SECURE Act also eliminates the 701/2 maximum age for deduction of IRA contributions. This change may encourage IRA owners to contribute to their plans later in life, reducing the number of accounts that become abandoned due to lack of activity or contact with the holder. 

 

Holders may also see a reduction in inactive IRAs from a change affecting IRA distribution upon the account owner’s death. Under the act, inherited IRAs must be fully distributed within 10 years of the owner’s death with exceptions for certain qualifying beneficiaries, including spouses and minors. 

 

IRAs have been a hot topic in the unclaimed property world in recent months. In addition to the SECURE Act changes, the Internal Revenue Service’s Revenue Ruling 2018-17 became effective on Jan. 1, 2020. This clarification from the IRS affects tax withholdings from IRAs and how such withholdings should be reported to the states. NAUPA recently provided guidance to help holders with this change.  

 

These changes will likely be among the topics attendees discuss during the Banking and FinTech Industry Focus session and Industry Breakouts at the upcoming UPPO Annual Conference in Tucson, Arizona. Learn more and register by Jan. 27, 2020, for the best rate. 

Tags:  IRAs  SECURE Act 

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