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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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Unclaimed Property News Roundup

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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 and national media outlets. 

 

The IRS is sitting on an estimated $1.4 billion in unclaimed tax refunds

On March 19, 2019, CBS News reported on an estimated $1.4 billion stockpile of unclaimed property held by the Internal Revenue Service. The funds represent income tax overpayments withheld from employee paychecks but not refunded because they neglected to claim their funds by filing a tax return. 

 

Louisiana residents receive unclaimed property checks

On March 19, 2019, several Louisiana news outlets reported on 44,000 residents receiving checks totaling $4.2 million from the state. The surprise payments represent returned unclaimed property resulting from 2018 legislation allowing the state Treasury and Department of Revenue to cross-reference information for the sole purpose of returning unclaimed property. An October 2018 mailing include 85,000 checks totaling $15 million. 

 

Don’t Mickey Mouse around with recovered unclaimed funds

On Feb. 20, 2019, ABC 12 reported on Genesee County (Michigan) County Clerk John Gleason’s unusual press conference regarding the use of recovered unclaimed property. Dressed in a (rather sad excuse for a) Mickey Mouse costume, Gleason expressed dismay over the authorization by the county commissioners to use funds returned to the county by the state to send three employees to Orlando, Florida, for five days of leadership, engagement and customer service training. 

Tags:  IRS  Louisiana  Michigan  taxes  unclaimed property 

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UPPO Annual Conference Wrap-up

Posted By Tim Dressen, UPPO, Thursday, April 4, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Nearly 700 unclaimed property professionals gathered in New Orleans on March 24 – 27 for UPPO’s 2019 Annual Conference. Attendees enjoyed a multitude of networking opportunities, special events and educational sessions. 

 

Educational Sessions

The foundation of the UPPO Annual Conference is its strong educational lineup. This year’s event included four educational tracks, providing basic, intermediate and advanced sessions along with industry-specific workshops. The session agenda included all of today’s hot topics in unclaimed property.

 

Attendees also participated in industry-specific breakout sessions, heard from state administrators and got insight into unclaimed property compliance litigation through the Mock Trial session.  

 

Association Initiatives

2018/19 UPPO President Marilyn Henry provided attendees with an update on the association’s recent work and special initiatives. During the year, the board of directors undertook a review of the association’s management company, putting the contract out for bids and evaluating association management services before renewing with Forius. 

 

The board also reviewed the organization’s investment portfolio, putting out an RFP for investment services. After reviewing proposals and conducting a thorough analysis, the Finance Committee recommended to the board that UPPO maintain its relationship with RBC. 

 

The board also updated the UPPO strategic plan, which would be discussed in detail by 2019/20 President Troy Wangen during his presentation.

 

Henry also provided updates on the introduction of the certificate program’s intermediate tier, expanded industry focus conference calls and ever-important advocacy efforts.

 

“As we carried out these initiatives, UPPO continued building on our education, advocacy and membership work,” Henry said. “We introduced the intermediate tier of our fantastic certificate program. We established priority issue workgroups to help us more efficiently respond to legislative and regulatory challenges and opportunities. And we continued to improve our membership benefits with the expansion of our industry-focus conference calls.”

 

2019/20 Board of Directors

Henry thanked members of the 2018/19 UPPO Board of Directors for their service and recognized departing board members Carla McGlynn for her years of leadership. She then turned the gavel over to 2019/20 President Troy Wangen as McGlynn installed the new board:

  • President Troy Wangen
  • First Vice President Heather Steffans 
  • Second Vice President Karen Anderson
  • Treasurer Chris Jensen
  • Secretary Jennifer Waryjas
  • Midwestern Vice President Becky Stephens
  • Eastern Vice President Mike Ryan
  • Southern Vice President Michelle Graf
  • Western Vice President Evi Magnusson
  • Immediate Past President Marilyn Henry

 

Upon his installation as president, Wangen discussed the association’s goals for the coming year and beyond, highlighting the areas of focus from the 2019-22 Strategic Plan – advocacy, public perception, state relations and education.

 

“We have a lot of work ahead of us,” Wangen said. “Fortunately, this room is filled with passionate, talented professionals who consistently step up to share that passion and talent for the greater good of our organization. I am excited to begin this year as your UPPO president and I look forward to the progress we’ll make together.”

 

UPPO Scholarship

Each year at the Annual Convention, the association announces the winner of the UPPO Scholarship. To foster an environment of continuing education, UPPO established its scholarship program to financially assist members and their children who wish to continue their education in college or vocational school programs. This year’s recipients are Cayla Julius, daughter of UPPO member Cherie Julius; and Lydia Rudden, daughter of UPPO member Fritz Rudden. 

 

Attendees wishing to support the UPPO Scholarship Program participated in a French Quarter Walking Tour and bid on items donated for the first Scholarship Program Silent Auction, held during the conference. 

 

Sponsors and Exhibitors

The UPPO Annual Conference would not be possible without the support of sponsors and exhibitors. Thank you to all of the vendors who helped make this year’s event a success. 

 

Sponsors

  • Alston & Bird LLP
  • Altus Group US Inc.
  • Barganier and Associates LLC
  • Boomerang Asset Recovery LLC
  • Crowe LLP
  • Ernst & Young LLP
  • Eversheds Sutherland
  • Grant Thronton LLP
  • JMS Advisory Group LLC
  • Keane
  • KPMG LLP
  • MarketSphere Unclaimed Property Specialists
  • McDermott Will & Emery
  • Morris Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
  • RSM US LLP
  • Ryan LLC
  • True Partners Consulting 
  • WNGATES.com Inc.

 

Exhibitors

  • Altus Group US Inc.
  • Baker Tilly Virchow Krause LLP
  • Boomerang Asset Recovery LLC
  • Crowe LLP
  • DataTree by First American
  • DuCharme, McMillen & Associates Inc.
  • Duff & Phelps
  • Dunbar
  • Eagle Technology Management Inc.
  • Financial Software Innovations Inc.
  • Georgeson LLC
  • JMS Advisorry Group LLC
  • Keane
  • KPMG LLP
  • Linking Assets Inc.
  • MarketSphere Unclaimed Property Specialists
  • Navigant
  • New York Post
  • NY Daily News
  • Phoenix Finders Group
  • Reed Smith LLP
  • Ryan LLC
  • Trintech Inc.
  • True Partners Consulting LLC

 

Mark Your Calendar

Thank you to attendees, speakers and members who helped plan this year’s conference, without whom it could not have been such a success. Plan to join us next year in Tucson, Arizona, on March 29 – April 1 for the 2020 UPPO Annual Conference. Planning is already underway, and it’s sure to be another spectacular event. 

 

Want to get more out of your conference experience or learn more about what you missed? Join us for a free member webinar at 1 p.m. EDT on April 17, featuring conference speakers sharing their experience and what they took away from the event. 

 

 

Tags:  education  unclaimed property  UPPO Annual Conference 

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UPPO Honors 2018/19 Award Winners

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, March 27, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Each year during the Annual Conference, UPPO recognizes the hard work and dedication of association members whose efforts contributed to the success of UPPO and the unclaimed property profession throughout the past year. They deserve recognition and appreciation for their hard work, leadership, teamwork and passion. 

 

Members’ Choice Awards

With the Members’ Choice Awards, UPPO recognizes specific state administrators and unclaimed property programs for their excellence. UPPO members nominate candidates and choose the winners from the subsequent slate of nominees. Congratulations to this year’s recipients: 

  • Website Award: Pennsylvania’s website is user-friendly with all of the necessary compliance information and forms clearly labeled and easily located. 
  • Above and Beyond Award: Allen Mayer, chief of staff to Treasurer Frerichs of Illinois,  devoted many hours to our unclaimed property team over the phone explaining the nuances and intent of Illinois’ RUUPA. He also kept us updated on legislative and technical correction activity in the state.
  • Overall Excellence Award: Louisiana allows all holder types to be filed simultaneously; allows optional, user-friendly online reporting; offers an informal VDA process with consideration for waiving penalties and interest; and does not require negative reports or report notarization.
  • Industry Advocacy Partnership Award: Pennsylvania Department of Labor receives this award for renewed enforcement efforts regarding lost pension plan participants.
  • State Legislative Award: Pennsylvania implemented a change to its unclaimed property policy regarding securities, which was clarified through legislation. The change allowed the state to ensure that shareholders would not lose the benefit of their investments through escheatment as a result of mere inactivity. Rather, Pennsylvania implemented an RPO requirement prior to accepting transfer of shares.  

 

Awards of Merit

This award is given to member organizations that have provided exceptional support to UPPO during the past years. During the past year, UPPO has been working to introduce legislation to establish a VDA program in the state of California. Two member companies have led our efforts, and their work has earned them this year’s Award of Merit. Receiving the award at the conference were the representatives from those companies who worked so hard on this project: For True Partners Consulting, Cathleen Bucholtz, and for Alston & Bird, Kendall Houghton.

 

Team Player Awards

This award is presented to volunteers who serve on committees, work diligently on projects that advance the work of their committees and help pull the team together to accomplish their goals. This year’s recipients include:

  • Tom Powers, a GRAC work group leader who has really stepped forward this year to offer his knowledge and expertise in the area of banking and finance. Not only has Tom worked directly with UPPO, but he has also become an active member of the Holders Coalition. He has regularly stepped forward to assist in analyzing proposed legislation and to educate other members. He has also agreed to step up even more this next year and will co-chair GRAC.
  • Ann Fulmer, a co-chair of the on-demand webinar subcommittee. This was a challenging year for the group, and her leadership skills were instrumental in taking on those challenges. Charged with developing content for two intermediate certificate program webinars, the group found that developing content was more involved than it has been for basic tier webinars. Ann kept the project on task, despite the roadblocks.  
  • Sonja Roman-Molina, co-chair of UPPO’s Member Services Committee. As a leader of multiple work groups for this committee, she has played an instrumental role in projects that increase member value. She also conducts member retention calls to help our membership thrive.

 

Shining Star Awards

Seven UPPO members received Shining Star honors for their “shining brightly to help guide the way.” This year’s Shining Stars are:

  • David Knott, co-chair of the Claimants Representative Committee
  • Jim Harris, co-chair of the Claimants Representative Committee
  • Randy Hotz, member of the Claimants Representative Committee
  • Dana Terry, member of GRAC and the Holders Coalition work group addressing the IRS ruling regarding IRAs
  • Jen Borden, member of GRAC and the Holders Coalition work group addressing the IRS ruling regarding IRAs
  • Pam Wentz, co-chair of the Leadership Development and Nominating Committees
  • Michelle Andre, co-chair of the Government Relations and Advocacy Committee
  • Sonia Walwyn, co-chair of the Ethics Committee
  • Nora O’Connor, chair of the Bylaws Committee

 

President’s Award

This award, chosen by the association’s president, honors a member who has taken on a huge task or project that will help change or improve the unclaimed property profession for years to come.  

 

The first recipient, Robert Joseph has served UPPO for many years on the Conference and Seminar Committee volunteering countless hours in helping to develop programming for the annual conference, reviewed many presentations, helped to select great speakers, and numerous other projects. Although he is stepping off of the Conference and Seminar Committee, he has accepted a new assignment as co-chair of the Leadership Development Committee. 

 

The second recipient, Carla McGlynn has served UPPO for many years, most recently serving on the board of directors. As a member of the UPPO Board, serving through the chairs to her current role as Immediate Past President, she has demonstrated great leadership skills and has clearly helped to advance UPPO’s mission.

 

Congratulations to all of this year’s winners for their selfless dedication and commitment to their association and profession. 

 

 

Tags:  awards  unclaimed property  UPPO Annual Conference 

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2019 Spring Reporting Guide

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, February 20, 2019

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. 

 

Note: Tennessee was previously a spring reporting state but has since moved its filing date to fall. Details

 

Connecticut 
Report due: March 29, 2019
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.


Delaware
Report due: March 1, 2019
Extensions: Extensions may be requested.


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

 

Notes from UPPO’s state administrator survey:


Florida 
Report due: April 30, 2019
Extensions: Extensions may be 
requested.


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


Illinois 
Report due: May 1, 2019
Extensions: Extensions may be requested.


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

 

Michigan

Report due: July 1, 2019

Extensions: No details provide.

 

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

Michigan holder resources.

 

Notes from UPPO’s state administrator survey:

  • New website URL: https://unclaimedproperty.michigan.gov
  • Updated holder instruction manual/handbook expected soon.
  • Holders can now report properties and remit payments electronically.
  • HDE files no longer accepted.
  • Holders are expected to provide as much identifying, verifying information as possible. Without all information, claimants sometimes are referred back to holders for verification purposes.
  • Holders with nothing to report are able to submit a zero/negative report online. 
  • Because CEPAS has changed its company ID, holders will need to update their information with a new number provided on the payment website. 
  • EFT is required at the time of filing.

 

New York 
Report due: March 10, 2019
Extensions: Extensions may be requested. 

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

 

Notes from UPPO’s state administrator survey:

 

Pennsylvania 
Report due: April 15, 2019
Extensions: Extensions may be requested.  

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

Texas

Report due: July 1, 2019

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, 2019
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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UPPO Asks: Unclaimed Property Misperceptions​

Posted By Administration, Thursday, February 14, 2019

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: What is the most noteworthy or most frequent misperception you’ve heard about unclaimed property? 

 

“The most noteworthy misperception I hear is that MissingMoney.com and states’ websites are the only places to check for claimable unclaimed property.”—Paul Janisko, CEO, CoreUCP

 

 

“Most people think of unclaimed property as lost stuff, like umbrellas. They do not understand how that could pertain to my company.”—Amy Soler, administrative assistant, tax department, Solvay Business Services

 

 

“Sometimes it is challenging to convince management that the due diligence and other unclaimed property reporting requirements must be followed. Once I took a boss to an unclaimed property presentation provided by the state in order to show that the company needed to follow the unclaimed property rules. Many people that I speak with are still unaware that unclaimed property reporting rules exist. I have stated many times to colleagues who work at other companies, ‘No, you can’t write off old, uncashed checks.’”—Ruby Spiller, senior GL accountant, Infineon Technologies Americas Corp.

 

 

“A misperception on the work end of it would be that it’s easy. People within my company that I have talked to don’t realize how much work actually has to go into it. They just assume I throw a report together and send it off, when there is much more to it.”—Amy Lagunero, accounts payable specialist, Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation

 

 

“The two most common misperceptions I’ve heard are: 1. As a holder, you only have to file in the states in which you operate; and 2. There is a uniform law that most states adopt. The reality is quite the opposite.”—Missy Key, vp – accounting, America First Credit Union

 

 

“1. Owners don’t realize how complicated the process is for getting escheated funds back from the state. Even when all of the required documentation is provided to the state by the owner, it can take years for the owners to get their funds back, if they are able to get them back at all.

 

"2. You don’t have to claim unclaimed property on taxes or as income.

 

"3. Owners don’t realize that their funds are sent to the state after the dormancy period. They often think that we just hold the money forever until they ask for it.”—Courtney Papinchak, accounting manager, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation

 

 

“The most frequent misperception I find for holders is the discounting of the gravity of their compliance responsibilities, recognition of its application and the degree of their potential exposure.

 

“The most frequent misperception I find for owners is that when searching for their properties they need to utilize searches for all name combinations, including aliases, in as many jurisdictions as possible, especially those individuals whose surname may also be a first name.”—Mark Watters, owner, Watters Unclaimed Property Consulting LLC

 

 

“They don’t think it affects them so they don’t care about unclaimed property.”—Susan Maul, senior manager, indirect tax, Arris International PLC

 

 

“The misperception I have often heard is that if someone is owed money from a company they would somehow be found. At this point, I gently explain that most often if the payee has changed address several times, or their last name has changed or whatever other circumstance applies, it becomes very difficult to track an individual – especially if no unique identifier is available, like a SSN or date of birth. I have personally experienced this many times as an escheat administrator since we do not collect SSNs or DOBs from our clients. 

 

“Another misperception I have heard of is if a due diligence letter is not returned by the U.S. Postal Service that means that the owner has received it and funds should not be escheated. Again, I gently explain that just because a due diligence letter was not returned undeliverable, we cannot assume that the owner received it. Since no response has been forthcoming from the owner, it is safe to assume that funds should be escheated.”—Antoinette Di Dato, accounting – compliance, GreenbergTraurig, P.A.

 

 

“One of the biggest noteworthy things in working for a TPA is that I rely heavily on our adjusters to contact claimants and providers when a check becomes stale dated. I am frequently asked to void checks because a claimant/provider is not able to be contacted or due to not having a current address. This is frustrating from my end because I know I am sending out due diligence letters to the wrong address, which means I’m not giving the state ‘good’ information when filing.”—Eric Nesbitt, accounting supervisor, Cannon Cochran Management Services, Inc.

 

 

“I guess the most frequent misconception is that once funds are moved to an unclaimed liability account, the business’s normal policy and procedures are eliminated. For instance, if the funds are related to a death claim, the misconception both internally and externally is that the death claim paperwork is no longer required in order to pay the funds out to the owner.”—Tony McDowell, senior accountant, American Equity Investment Life Insurance Company

 

 

“Common misperceptions in the oil and gas industry are that the states do not want every penny – for instance, only $50 and above; and that the states keep the money after a certain number of years of being unclaimed.”—Joni Byrd, senior advisor – land administration, EnerVest Ltd.

 

 

“The most frequent misperception I’ve heard about unclaimed property is individuals accept full responsibility for the recovery of unclaimed funds. If the statement were true, there wouldn’t be billions of dollars sitting on general ledgers of many companies. I believe some people don’t know the funds are there. Some think the funds are so small they aren’t worth the time and effort. Some don’t believe unclaimed property has anything of value. They believe it is a scam. But, I believe each fund-matters – each one has worth – each has a right to be claimed, and when added together the sum is astonishing.”—Monica Johnson, escheatment/unclaimed property manager, United Parcel Service

 

 

Now it’s your turn. What do you think are the most important personality traits for an unclaimed property professional? Add a comment to this post to share your response.

 

Tags:  unclaimed property  UPPO Asks 

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