New reporting requirements and penalties take effect this year
Harrisburg March 26, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Employers play an important role in helping the Pennsylvania Treasury return dormant financial assets and forgotten tangible items to the rightful owners or heirs. The annual deadline for remitting these unclaimed items – April 15 – is fast approaching, and compliance with this state law sets the reunification process in motion.
This year’s deadline is of particular note for holders of unclaimed property because it is the first year that the dormancy period is reduced from five years to three. This means that property must be reported sooner than in past years. To help holders understand these changes, Treasury continues its concerted effort to educate businesses and organizations of their obligations under this state law.
“Everyone knows they have to file their taxes by April 15 each year. But many employers aren’t aware of the legal obligation to report unclaimed property to Treasury,” Executive Deputy State Treasurer Christopher Craig said. “Treasury continues to reach out to holders of unclaimed property, offering resources like interactive webinars, frequently asked questions and a hotline staffed by Treasury compliance professionals to ensure awareness.
“Thanks to our outreach efforts and the cooperation of holders, Treasury over the last six calendar years has collected more than $1.4 billion in unclaimed property and returned more than $646 million to rightful owners, including $100 million to businesses and local governments,” Craig continued.
According to Pennsylvania’s Disposition of Abandoned and Unclaimed Property Act, all financial institutions, government agencies, businesses, organizations, and entities are required to remit unclaimed property to Treasury on an annual basis. Under the previous version of the Act, property was presumed abandoned or unclaimed if the owner had not taken specific action regarding his or her property within the previous five years, but recent changes reduced that time period to three years for most property types.
In recent years, unclaimed property collections have increased steadily, as a result of the department’s efforts to increase awareness of and compliance with Pennsylvania’s unclaimed property law. Last year alone Treasury collected more than $298 million in unclaimed property – the fourth straight year collections passed the $200 million mark.
Holders of unclaimed property can also be owners, too. All holders who visit www.patreasury.gov to explore holder resources are encouraged to also search their name and the name of their businesses to find out if there is any property in their name.
According to Pennsylvania’s unclaimed property law, any holder that does not file a report by April 15 may be subject to interest and penalties. Writing off unclaimed property as income does not relieve this liability.
To assist businesses that have never filed or may have overlooked certain property types, Treasury offers a Voluntary Disclosure Agreement (VDA) to bring companies up-to-date with their annual filing while receiving a waiver of penalties and interest. Holders with overdue property that should be reported or those that would like more information on the VDA program should contact Treasury’s compliance team at 1-800-379-3999.
Generally speaking, unclaimed property is any financial asset that has been left with a business or government agency without activity or contact for a specified period of time, most commonly three years with some exceptions. Reportable assets include bank accounts, uncashed payroll checks, accounts payable or receivable checks, credit balances, expired gift cards, escrow accounts, money orders, utility refunds, insurance proceeds, stocks and bonds and tangible items including those from police departments, hospitals, nursing homes, universities and safe deposit boxes. Visit www.patreasury.gov for a “dormancy matrix” that lists the holding periods for various property types, as well as examples of types of property reported by industry.
Treasury offers webinars to help guide holders through the details of Pennsylvania’s unclaimed property law. To date, thousands of employers have participated in these webinars. The presentations are available for view at a holder’s convenience at www.patreasury.gov by dropping down the “Unclaimed Property” menu. There, holders will also find other reporting resources such as FAQs, detailed reporting instructions, a link to free electronic reporting software (required for reporting more than 10 accounts), a copy of the Disposition of Abandoned and Unclaimed Property Act, and information for companies voluntarily coming into compliance for the first time.
Holders with questions or in need of assistance can reach Treasury’s compliance team at 1-800-379-3999 or .
Media contact: Elizabeth Foose, 717-787-2991 or