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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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NAUPA Provides Additional Guidance for Reporting IRAs and Tax Withholding

Posted By Administration, Thursday, January 16, 2020

The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators has provided additional guidance regarding reporting of unclaimed IRAs and their tax withholdings within the NAUPA II format under IRS Revenue Ruling 2018-17. 

 

As UPPO previously reported, NAUPA issued preliminary guidance to holders in November 2019. It advised holders to use the NAUPA Standard Deduction and Withholding code “TW” in the PROP-DEDUCTION-TYPE field of the Property record to represent “Income Tax Withheld.” In addition:

  • The amount of federal tax withheld should be stored in the PROP-DEDUCTION-AMOUNT field. 
  • The value of the property before the deduction should be stored in the PROP-AMOUNT-REPORTED field.
  • The amount remitted to the state after federal tax withholding should be stored in the PROP-AMOUNT-REMITTED field. 

UPPO questioned how holders should handle situations when they have multiple deductions, as the PROP-DEDUCTION-AMOUNT field only accommodates one. For example, a holder may have a deduction for mailing costs and the income tax withheld. UPPO also asked NAUPA to clarify whether federal and state tax withheld would be combined and recorded as one amount within the NAUPA file. 

 

On Dec. 5, 2019, NAUPA issued follow-up guidance to include, “In the event of multiple deductions, the Tax Withholding code should take priority,” and the state and federal withholdings should be totaled for inclusion. 

 

In response, UPPO requested additional clarification regarding how holders should populate the file when the property is a security and part of that security must be liquidated to pay the 10% tax withholding, as there is only one property record on the file. 

 

NAUPA responded on Dec. 17, 2019, with the following example of escheating 100 shares with each share worth $1.

 

PROP-AMOUNT-REPORTED              10.00

PROP-DEDUCTION-TYPE                   TW

PROP-DEDUCTION-AMOUNT             10.00

PROP-AMOUNT-REMITTED                0.00

 

PROP-NUMBER-OF-SHARES             100.0000

PROP-DEL-SHARES                            10.0000

PROP-REM-SHARES                           90.0000

 

The description field will indicate the sale:

PROP-DESCRIPTION                   PARTIAL SALE OF SECURITIES FOR TAX WITHHOLDINGS

 

NAUPA has stated that typically most states instruct holders to use separate properties for cash and securities, but this would be a valid reason for an exception.

 

Some holders have expressed concerns that not all states will abide by the guidance. Although NAUPA cannot regulate whether states adopt its guidance, it is educating them on the issue and the benefits of doing so. 

Tags:  IRAs  IRS  NAUPA  taxes 

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NAUPA Offers Guidance for Reporting IRAs and Tax Withholding

Posted By Administration, Thursday, December 5, 2019

On May 29, 2018, the Internal Revenue Service issued Revenue Ruling 2018-17, clarifying the agency’s position on traditional individual retirement account escheatment. Specifically, the ruling states that IRA holders – or trustees – must withhold 10 percent federal income tax and issue form 1099Rs when reporting unclaimed IRAs to the states. Holders are expected to comply by Jan. 1, 2020.  

 

The Holders Coalition – a group of organizations, including UPPO, whose members hold or represent owners of property – submitted comments on Sept. 4, 2018, and Nov. 19, 2019, to IRS and Department of Treasury officials regarding implementation concerns about the ruling. 

 

In November 2019, the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators issued the following guidance for retirement plan administrators to foster the uniform reporting of unclaimed IRAs and their tax withholding under IRS Revenue Ruling 2018-17 within the NAUPA II format. 

 

On January 1, 2020, The Internal Revenue Service’s Revenue Ruling 2018-17 will go into effect concerning withholding and reporting taxes with respect to payments from Individual Retirement Accounts (“IRAs”) to state unclaimed property programs. Holders reporting these properties should make use of the NAUPA Standard Deduction and Withholding code “TW” to represent “Income Tax Withheld.”

 

The value “TW” should be recorded in the PROPERTY record in the PROP-DEDUCTION-TYPE field. The amount of Federal Tax Withheld should be stored in the PROP-DEDUCTION-AMOUNT field. This code should be used for any taxes withheld from remitted properties.

 

The value of the property before the deduction should be stored in the PROP-AMOUNT-REPORTED field. The amount remitted to the state after the Federal Tax Withholding should be stored in the PROP-AMOUNT-REMITTED field. 

 

It is imperative that all withheld taxes are reflected in reports of unclaimed property, so that the claimants may be so advised and address this in conjunction with their tax reporting.

 

In the event of multiple deductions, the Tax Withholding code should take priority. Since only one deduction field is available, the state and federal withholdings should be totaled for inclusion. We hope that holders would consider providing additional information to the states for the detail of the deductions.

 

For more information related to the NAUPA reporting standard, please visit:

https://unclaimed.org/wp-content/uploads/NAUPAStandardElectronicFileFormat-11.20.19.pdf.

 

Companies who withhold taxes should report and remit those taxes to the Internal Revenue Service or other taxing agency. Contact your legal or tax advisor for reporting and remittance instructions. For more information on the Revenue Ruling 2018-17, visit: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/rr-18-17.pdf.

 

UPPO will continue to monitor and report on developments related to IRS Revenue Ruling 2018-17. 

Tags:  IRAs  taxes 

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Practical Insights and Deeper Dives Highlight Annual Conference Sessions

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, January 9, 2019

 

 

Unclaimed property continues to provide a maze of compliance challenges for the professionals charged with managing their companies’ escheatment responsibilities. This year’s UPPO Annual Conference agenda offers a wide variety of sessions designed to help navigate that maze and keep up with the latest trends.

 

Managing Relationships

If your company is using third-party agents for employee benefits, payroll, equity or other services, understanding the roles of each party and ensuring everyone is properly fulfilling their responsibilities is essential to the unclaimed property reporting process. The Managing Your Third-Party Administrator session will offer tips for managing this important relationship.

 

The Bridging the Gap session looks at another key relationship – the one between holders and the states. This session will help attendees gain insight into building positive relationships with state administrators and maintaining a compliance program that is mutually beneficial to the holder, the state and property owners.

 

Emerging Property and Account Types

Unclaimed property compliance involves much more than uncashed payroll checks and customer credits. Dive into the specific requirements and considerations for unique account types in the unclaimed property process during the Unique Accounts with Unique Requirements session. Attendees with explore developments related to traditional and nontraditional retirement/IRA accounts, beneficiary accounts, HSAs and FSAs, and the effects of linking activity between customer accounts. 

 

Another rapidly evolving area of unclaimed property compliance is the world of virtual currencies. The Virtual Reality, Real Unclaimed Property session will look at issues arising from virtual currencies, blockchain technologies and modern incentive programs. Attendees will get insight into regulatory changes and practical considerations related to cryptocurrencies, virtual wallets and customer loyalty programs. 

 

Audits and VDAs

Always hot topics, unclaimed property audits and voluntary disclosure agreements will take center stage in several sessions. 

 

Unclaimed property professionals who haven’t yet been fully exposed to the audit process can gain an understanding of the concepts, timelines and expectations at the Audit 101 session. This introduction to audits will explore the scope and methodologies used by states and their third-party auditors. 

 

Holders under examination or participating in a VDA may be subject to estimated liability. The Estimation Under Audits and VDAs session will explore estimation methodologies and considerations and examine how states differ in their estimation practices. 

 

With so many companies incorporated in Delaware, that state spends a lot of time in the unclaimed property spotlight, but other states can’t be neglected. The Non-Delaware Voluntary Compliance session will look at VDAs in other states and when an informal approach may be more beneficial than a formal VDA. 

 

Not all third-party auditors were created alike. In fact, their processes and procedures vary greatly. The Third-Party Auditor Differences session will walk through the many different document requests that holders can expect throughout the audit process and will examine conflicting auditor requests when under audit by multiple states using different firms. 

 

View complete details about educational sessions and other 2019 UPPO Annual Conference events. The early-bird registration deadline is Jan. 28, so register today for the best rate.

 

 

 

 

 

Tags:  audits  cryptocurrency  IRAs  state administrators  TPAs  UPPO Annual Conference  VDAs  virtual currency 

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UPPO seeks clarification about Pennsylvania’s due diligence and IRA provisions

Posted By Administration, Thursday, October 6, 2016

On July 13, 2016, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed H.B. 1605 into law. The massive bill revises the commonwealth’s Fiscal Code, including its unclaimed property program. Among H.B. 1605’s unclaimed property provisions are requirements for conducting due diligence and escheating Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). Unfortunately, the law’s language is causing confusion for unclaimed property holders. In an effort to gain clarity, UPPO submitted a letter to Treasurer Timothy Reese and legislative leaders on Sept. 22, 2016.

 

Due Diligence

One of the new statutory provisions imposed by H.B. 1605, Section 1301.10A, requires holders to perform due diligence for property valued at $50 or more when the holder’s records do not disclose the owner’s address to be inaccurate. The statute specifies that holders must send written notice by first class mail, “unless the owner has previously agreed to a method of electronic notice that remains valid to contact the owner.”

 

The statute’s wording opens the door to multiple interpretations. It is unclear whether an owner’s agreement to receive electronic notices triggers a requirement for the holder to use electronic communication or merely gives the holder the option to choose either first class mail or electronic communication.

 

The due diligence provision also fails to specify what constitutes owner agreement to receive electronic communication. It fails to define whether the owner’s request to receive any type of communication from the holder is sufficient or if the agreement must specifically include due diligence notices. Similarly, it causes confusion for holders who have received consent to send specific types of communication via one method (tax forms by mail, for example) and other types of communication via another (i.e., general account information by email). 

 

IRA Distributions

Under federal law, IRA owners are allowed to take account distributions beginning at age 59 ½ without penalties and are required to take account distributions beginning at age 70 ½. If they choose to take distributions before 59 ½, they are subject to an additional 10 percent “early distribution” tax (with some well-defined exceptions).

 

Section 1301.8(2) of H.B. 1605 suggests that IRAs could be reportable to Pennsylvania regardless of the owner’s age. This could trigger the 10 percent early distribution penalty for owners under the age of 59 ½. Because the Internal Revenue Service has not addressed whether unclaimed property reporting of an IRA owned by someone younger than 59 ½ triggers the early distribution tax, the change to Pennsylvania’s law could lead to several unintended risks for IRA owners and custodians, including:

  • The incorrect application of taxable income reporting.
  • Tax withholding and overall tax liability computation.
  • Long-term loss of compounded interest earned on account balances.
  • Long-term loss of the accrued value of reinvested dividends no longer accruing on accounts.
  • General interference with the long-term retirement investing goals of individuals who often use IRAs as passive, long-term investments with no expectation of the need to access the funds prior to retirement.

In its comments, UPPO encouraged Pennsylvania officials to consider the potential negative tax consequences of the unclaimed property provisions on the commonwealth’s residents and questioned whether the state has the authority to subject residents to such consequences.

 

Federal Preemption

The new IRA dormancy standard in H.B. 1605 also may conflict with federal law governing the creation, control and tax treatment of such accounts. UPPO points out that the tax implications from IRA distributions required by the new law contradict Congress’ intent to provide a clearly defined and heavily regulated tax benefit to retirees. Thus, the state’s unclaimed property law would violate the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, which establishes that federal law takes precedent.

 

Pennsylvania Law Inconsistency

In addition to the apparent conflict with federal law, H.B. 1605’s IRA provisions seems to conflict with Pennsylvania’s own unclaimed property principles. UPPO writes, “The Pennsylvania Disposition of Abandoned and Unclaimed Property is founded on the premise that the Commonwealth may take custody of property that is ‘payable or distributable’ to an owner, but which the owner has abandoned or neglected to claim. The change implemented by H.B. 1605 permits the Commonwealth to take custody of assets that are not ‘payable or distributable,’ and ignores whether the owner has truly abandoned the property or not. Thus, the legislation crosses over the threshold of taking custody, and acts instead to confiscate the assets of Pennsylvania residents.”

 

A spokesperson for Pennsylvania’s Treasury Department told The Wall Street Journal that the dormancy standard was aimed at protecting retirement account beneficiaries, allowing them to access IRA accounts when the owner died before the mandatory IRA distribution age. The wording of the new IRA dormancy provision, however, is overly broad for that intent.

 

UPPO hopes to receive clarity regarding these issues soon. We will update membership via the blog with news and developments related to the UPPO letter or these regulations. View UPPO’s letter.

 

 

Tags:  compliance  due diligence  IRAs  Pennsylvania  unclaimed property 

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