It’s time once again for Indiana businesses and organizations to begin reporting and relinquishing unclaimed property to meet the November 1, 2016, deadline.
Unclaimed property consists of any financial asset with no account activity by its owner for a specified period of time: one year for payroll checks and three years for most other holdings. Wages or commissions; savings and checking accounts; stock dividends; insurance proceeds; underlying shares; customer deposits or overpayments; certificates of deposit; credit balances; refunds; money orders; and safe deposit box contents all fall under Indiana’s Unclaimed Property Act.
That law, passed by the Indiana General Assembly in 1967 and revised in 1995, requires that all unclaimed personal property be turned over to the Indiana Attorney General’s Unclaimed Property Division so that consumers can query the database to reclaim any money owed to them.
While the state expects to receive property for the benefit of lost owners, the Attorney General does not want to receive the property of an owner who has an ongoing relationship with the holder or whose last known address in the holder’s records is actually their current address. For this reason, Indiana’s Unclaimed Property Act requires due diligence be performed on all unclaimed property of $50 or more.
Due diligence includes sending notifications, which informs owners about the unclaimed property and how to retrieve it, by first class mail or better to the owner’s last known address no more than one hundred twenty days or no less than sixty days prior to the filing of the report.
Therefore, in order to comply with the November 1 deadline for reporting and relinquishing unclaimed property, businesses and organizations must mail due diligence letters by September 1.
The penalties for failing to report unclaimed property in Indiana are $100 per day, up to $5,000. A holder who intentionally fails to pay or deliver property is subject to an additional civil penalty of 10 percent of the value of the property that must be paid or delivered. A holder that willfully refuses to pay after written notice commits a Class B misdemeanor.
Extensions may be granted following a written request no later than thirty days prior to the reporting deadline using the Attorney General’s designated form.
“Negative” or “Zero” annual reports reflecting no unclaimed property held by the holder or business enterprise are not statutorily required. However, the Attorney General strongly encourages submission of such reports as a best governance practice and a demonstration of awareness of the legal requirements of the unclaimed property act.
First time reporters are encouraged to contact the Indiana Attorney General’s office with your company name and federal employer identification number to receive specific instructions. An organization’s first filing with the state is called their “initial compliance” and should span all property types held by the organization and covered under the law. In subsequent years during their annual filing, organizations should report unclaimed property according to the “dormancy” period for each property type.
For more information, review the Indiana Unclaimed Property Act or visit the Indiana Attorney General’s Report Unclaimed Property Reporting FAQs webpage. For information about reporting unclaimed property in other states, begin with the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) Reporting Resources website.
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