Are Unclaimed Property Proceeds Taxable?

Unclaimed Property
Jan 23 2015

By Regina Higginbotham

Goodbye 2014 hello 2015! The holidays are over and we can finally slow down and relax. The promise of a fresh start looms brightly, life is good! But there cannot be new beginnings without endings. For some of us the ending of 2014 means extra mail. No, it is not late greeting cards but more likely bills for all the shopping last month. Ugh!

If a person happened to be one of the 7,705 claimants lucky enough to receive a portion of the more than $7 million paid from the West Virginia State Treasurer’s Unclaimed Property Division in 2014, they could have used some of that money to cover any extra holiday expenses. Instead of bills at the end of January these individuals could be getting a FORM 1099 tax document.

Every year thousands of dollars are disbursed out of the West Virginia State Treasurer’s Unclaimed Property Fund to rightful owners or their heirs. The majority of those monies are not considered income for tax purposes. The actual income would be any “new” earnings on the underlying property. This would include interest paid on a savings account, proceeds from the sale of stocks or bonds and dividends paid on any stock shares. The original principal amount would not be considered income for this tax year because it was funds the owners had in their possession at a previous point in time before it was reported as unclaimed.

The Internal Revenue Service requires that a FORM 1099 be filed with their office and a statement provided to the recipients of any income paid out by a business during the course of the year. Some businesses send the required 1099 Forms when they send a check so technically 1099’s could be received any time of the year. The Unclaimed Property Division, however, processes 1099 forms once a year in January.

Three different types of 1099’s are generated by the Unclaimed Property Division. They are 1099-B, 1099-DIV and 1099-INT. A 1099 is required for total earnings of $10.00 or more in interest (1099-INT) or dividends (1099-DIV). If stock shares are sold by our office, the claimant will be mailed a 1099-B listing the stock name, cusip, number of shares sold and amount of the proceeds. If a customer had stock in more than one company, a separate 1099-B is provided for each different stock issue.   

April 15 might seem a long way off right now, but it really is just around the corner. If you received proceeds from the Unclaimed Property Division in 2014 watch your mailbox for potential 1099’s before filing your tax return. If you didn’t receive funds from our office last year, click here to search for accounts we may be holding in your name. Wouldn’t it be great to start 2015 off with some extra cash?

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West Virginia State Treasurer's Office
1900 Kanawha Boulevard
Capitol Complex Building #1, Room E-145
Charleston, West Virginia 25305
304-558-5000 Toll Free: 800-422-7498

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