Press release from Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller:
Attorney General Greg Zoeller offering Amnesty for businesses to report unclaimed property
Businesses not compliant with Unclaimed Property law by November 1 will face penalties and interest payments
(INDIANAPOLIS – March 1, 2010) In 2009, more than $42 million was returned to people through the Indiana Attorney General’s Unclaimed Property (UCP) program. Indiana law requires businesses to report assets of individual owner accounts to the state after a period of inactivity, typically three to five years. But not all businesses are aware this law exists and some may be ignoring the law. Attorney General Greg Zoeller is offering amnesty until November 1, 2010 allowing businesses to come into compliance by reporting unclaimed assets.
“Our first priority is to return as much money as possible to its rightful owners. The Amnesty program will further that mission by expanding the amount of forgotten or lost money that will be readily available to find its way back to its owner,” Zoeller said. “It is important that businesses recognize their legal obligations to report and the benefit to the people who truly own the money.”
Some of the most common types of unclaimed properties businesses may hold include checking accounts, utility deposits, insurance payments, security investments, and un-cashed wages. Oftentimes the owner of the account or money cannot be located due to moving without leaving a forwarding address, or there was a mistake made in updating an address.
Under amnesty, businesses, also known as “holders,” have an opportunity to comply before the state begins conducting enhanced auditing and without fear of interest or penalties. The penalties for failing to file an annual unclaimed property report is $100 per day the report is late, up to $5,000. A holder who intentionally fails to file a report is subject to an additional civil penalty of 10% of the value of the property that must be reported.
“Unclaimed property does not belong to the companies that are holding it and the rightful owners are often not aware the property exists,” said Becky Yuan, Director of the Attorney General’s Unclaimed Property Division. “This amnesty period provides businesses the time to learn what qualifies as unclaimed property and how to report it without consequence so Hoosiers can have the opportunity to search for and claim it for free.”
Throughout the next several months, the Unclaimed Property Division will be conducting free educational workshops to increase awareness and understanding of a holder’s legal reporting obligations under state law. Dates of these workshops will be posted online as soon as they are available.
There is more than $385 million in the state’s unclaimed property database. Each year approximately $40 million is added to the database during the reporting period.
To learn more about the Unclaimed Property Holder Amnesty Program, please visit www.IndianaUnclaimed.com/reporting or call 317.883.4520 or 1.800.447.5598.