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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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Colorado Auditor Identifies Unclaimed Property Division Problems

Posted By Administration, Thursday, August 22, 2019

In July 2019, the Colorado Auditor’s Office issued a 60-page report identifying several problems within the state’s Unclaimed Property Division. The audit was intended to determine whether the unclaimed property claims were processed and paid timely and properly according to state statutes. 

 

Findings included:

  • More than 90% of the 429,526 unclaimed property claims records provided to the auditor for review contained missing or inaccurate information, due in part to IT system conversion issues. 
  • The division did not act on 48% of the 17,128 claims tested within 90 days as required by state statute. Payout of claims ranged from same day to 1.8 years following approval. 
  • The division has not mailed notifications since March 2005 to approximately 1.6 million owners of unclaimed property as required by state statute. 
  • The division accepts unclaimed property from holders with an “unknown” or “unidentified” name, even if the property would be expected to have an owner name. 
  • The division had not taken physical custody of approximately 1,085 tangible unclaimed property items it should have taken under state statute. 
  • The division did not sell tangible unclaimed property within three years as required by state statutes. 
  • Treasury accounting staff recorded claims and interest distributions incorrectly, and has not determined the amount of the error or made necessary adjustments. 

 

The report offered several recommendations for remedying identified deficiencies. Colorado Treasurer Dave Young, who took office in January 2019, agreed with the findings and recommendations, telling the Denver Post, “We have been moving rapidly to change the course of the work in the office.” 

 

Some of the recommended fixes may affect unclaimed property holders. In addition to working with its software vendor to resolve data issues resulting from its 2017 conversion, the division may contact holders to seek additional information about previously reported property. 

 

The division also plans to implement steps to flag reports that identify property owners as “unknown” or “unidentified” for property types for which the holder is expected to have such information, including payroll checks and safe deposit boxes. The division will follow up on flagged reports to request the owner information. 

 

Colorado’s Unclaimed Property Division intends to implement the auditor’s recommendations by the end of 2020. 

 

Tags:  Colorado  reporting 

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UPPO Advocacy Update: May 2019

Posted By Administration, Thursday, May 9, 2019

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).

 

Colorado Passes RUUPA-Inspired Bill

Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed S.B. 88 into law on April 16, 2019. The RUUPA-inspired bill includes provisions that eliminate the state’s previous reporting deduction, allow for estimation, reduce several dormancy periods, define virtual currency and stored-value cards as escheatable property types, and maintain the state’s gift card exemption. 

 

The new law becomes effective on July 1, 2020, allowing holders to become familiar with its provisions and appropriately adjust their practices. 

 

Other Noteworthy Bills on the Move

Texas H.B. 3598 revises unclaimed property recordkeeping requirements and provides guidelines for affiliated group reporting. It stipulates that the state may not begin an unclaimed property examination after the seventh anniversary of the date a person filed a property report and removes the condition that the existence of unclaimed property be unknown to the holder for longer than three years for it to be presumed abandoned. On May 3, 2019, the House passed the bill and subsequently sent it to the Senate. 

 

Two additional states recently introduced RUUPA-inspired bills. Following the trend set by other states that have introduced RUUPA-inspired legislation, these bills deviate from the intent of RUUPA to provide uniformity across the states and to establish consumer-friendly practices that are also reasonable for holders and the states. 

 

Maine’s Judiciary Committee is currently reviewing L.D. 1544, the state’s RUUPA-inspired legislation.

 

Vermont’s RUUPA-inspired bill, H.B. 550, was fast-tracked through the House. Following its initial committee reading on April 26, the House passed the bill just five days later and sent it to the Senate for review. The bill includes language that may be problematic for holders in the financial services industry, as it appears to eliminate the linkage provision allowing customer activity on one account to also act as activity on the customer’s other accounts held by the same company.  

 

GRAC Develops New Structure

Seeking to refine its processes and operate as efficiently as possible, GRAC is in the process of implementing a new structure consisting of four sections. The committee has established responsibilities for each section and a process for section leaders to report to the GRAC co-chairs. The four GRAC sections are:

  • Issue Identification: Identifies important issues and determines legislative, regulatory and legal issues to address.
  • Position and Policy Drafting: Determines the strategy for addressing identified issues and writes support materials for doing so.
  • Strategy Implementation: Executes the strategy, working with legislators, regulators and other officials to promote UPPO’s position.
  • Communication: Works with UPPO staff to update members about advocacy initiatives. 

 

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:  Colorado  Maine  RUUPA  Texas  unclaimed property  Vermont 

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