Success of unclaimed property amnesty campaign means millions more for Hoosiers

Press release from Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller:

Attorney General Zoeller: Success of unclaimed property amnesty campaign means millions more for Hoosiers
Zoeller encourages organizations to accept Amnesty offer as Nov. 1 deadline approaches

(INDIANAPOLIS) – In an effort to raise awareness of a law requiring businesses to report unclaimed assets to the state, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller launched an Amnesty program in March providing companies an opportunity to meet their statutory obligations to report assets that belong to someone else without fear of penalties or fees. The Amnesty period ends November 1, 2010.

Indiana law requires businesses to file annual unclaimed property reports with the state after a period of inactivity with a holder, typically three to five years. The penalties for failing to file this report can be as high as $100 per day the report is late, up to $5,000 and an additional civil penalty of up to 10% of the value of the unreported property.

Today, Zoeller announced a plan that will hold those businesses accountable for failing to turn over unclaimed assets to the state. All businesses in Indiana are subject to regular audits conducted by the Department of Revenue. During those audits, the state’s revenue agency will look for any unclaimed assets that were not reported but should have been. The results of those audits will be turned over the Attorney General’s office for review of violations.

“We believe this collaborative effort with the Department of Revenue will help return millions of unclaimed dollars to their rightful owners and is an example of state agencies working together to serve the public,” Zoeller said. “For those companies that may claim to not be aware of the reporting requirement or are choosing to ignore it, I want them to know time is running out – if they are holding onto money that belongs to Hoosiers, they are required to report it.”

During the Amnesty period that began in March, the Department of Revenue has provided the Attorney General’s Unclaimed Property Division with financial information about companies that are likely to have unclaimed property. This information was used to conduct outreach to those organizations and encourage participation in the Amnesty program. Additionally, the Attorney General’s office has sent notices and reminders of the impending deadline to better inform companies of their obligation to report.

Nearly 1,500 entities have taken advantage of the amnesty offer and agreed to file the annual reports. The types of companies joining Amnesty include medical offices, blue chip companies, nonprofit organizations, law firms, accounting firms and small professional services firms in each of the 92 Counties in Indiana, more than 20 different states and Canada. More than 400 representatives from these organizations have also participated in training offered by the Attorney General’s Unclaimed Property Division on how to report online. Before the Amnesty program kicked-off, about 3,500 companies were filing regular annual reports.

“Many companies have used the Amnesty period to learn about the reporting requirements and understand what qualifies as unclaimed property. The response has been remarkable and we are pleased to see such a high rate of participation. I am confident that those organizations who want to be in compliance will be after this effort,” said Becky Yuan, Director of the Attorney General’s Unclaimed Property Division.

More than $385 million sits in the state’s unclaimed property database waiting to be claimed. Each year approximately $40 million is added to the database by the 3,500 companies that regularly submit annuals reports. It is not yet known how much more unclaimed property will be turned over to the state as a result of an additional 1,500 companies reporting, but it is expected to be in the millions. In 2009, more than $42 million was returned to people through the Attorney General’s Unclaimed Property program.

To learn more about the Unclaimed Property Holder Amnesty Program and reporting requirements, click here or call 317.883.4520 or 1.800.447.5598.


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