November 1st: It’s the most wonderful time …. of the year!

Financial EducationUnclaimed Property
Oct 13 2015

By Regina Crites-Unclaimed Property

Ok, so maybe not. But it is one of the busiest and most exciting times of the year for the West Virginia State Treasurer’s Office Unclaimed Property division.  The West Virginia Uniform Unclaimed Property Act requires all business associations including financial organizations, utility companies and other legal entities to file an Unclaimed Property report before November 1st of each year for any presumed abandon property they may be holding as of June 30th of that year.

What type of property should be reported? Examples include uncashed payroll checks, inactive bank accounts, safe deposit boxes, utility deposits or credit balances. The type of property will determine when the property becomes reportable.  For a list of property types and their respective dormancy periods, click here. The holder’s report should include as much detailed owner information as possible for any outstanding account on the holder’s records that has a value of at least $50. Items less than $50 are still reportable but may be remitted as an aggregate account.

Implementing the” Act” in 1997 was a win-win for the citizens and businesses of West Virginia. The property rights of the owner are protected while relieving the holder of the expense and liability of maintaining the property. Requiring that the property be reported and remitted to one statewide office provides the public with a central place to locate any missing funds. Also, most of the 50 states participate in a reciprocal exchange so that in the event that an out of state business holds property for a West Virginia owner, it would come to the state of last known address and in turn, we send properties to the other states for their owners.   

In the last fiscal year alone, from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015 over $23 million dollars was reported as unclaimed on approximately 3,800 holder reports consisting of more than 182,700 different properties. During that same period, over $9 million dollars was paid out in claims to the rightful owners or their heirs.

This isn’t a story of modern day Robin Hood where we take from the “haves” to give to the “have nots”. The Unclaimed Property Division returns lost funds to some of the same companies reporting the property they owe to others! Businesses filed almost 450 claims for their own unclaimed property totaling $1,674,903 in 2015. Thanks to advances in technology and continuous efforts to inform both businesses and the public, more and more people are reunited with their lost accounts than ever before.

If you are a holder of unclaimed property and need assistance in filing your required reports, or have questions, click here.  You may also contact Sara Withrow at 304-340-1574 or by email at sara.withrow@wvsto.com.

All holders are encouraged to file online and before the deadline. The next few weeks will be very busy for our office “There'll be files for uploading, checks for encoding, coz reporting season is here, It’s the most crazy, hectic, fun time….of the year!”

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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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