Unclaimed Property and Corporate Compliance News

Minnesota Ramping Up Audit Program

This past week, Patricia Barganier Thorn and Kimberly DeCarrera attended the National Association of State Treasurers’ Treasury Management Symposium. During the unclaimed property portion of the Symposium, Barganier learned that Minnesota has hired a new audit supervisor and is in the process of ramping up its unclaimed property audit program.

What This Means to Holders

Companies are required to report unclaimed property to each state. To enforce compliance, states have statutorily authorized the state administrators to conduct audits. Most administrators have also been authorized to hire third-party auditors to conduct the audits on their behalf.

California Sues Life Insurance Company for Impeding Audit

Photo by smokedsalmon on FreeDigitalPhotos.netCalifornia State Controller John Chiang has sued American National Insurance Company (ANICO) for failing to comply or cooperate with audit requests under a multi-state unclaimed property audit. The lawsuit was filed in Superior Court in Sacramento County.

Florida Makes Claiming Unclaimed Property Easier

Last week, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed Senate Bill 464, to automate certain claims of unclaimed property with the state.

The Unclaimed Property Department has been authorized to implement an electronic system for the submission of claims. Further, if the property claimed is $1,000 or less, the Department may verify identify without the need for a drivers license or a sworn notarized statement.

CFPB Partially Preempts Gift Card Laws, Holders Will Not Be Pleased

In August, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that it was looking into state gift card laws to determine if particular unclaimed property provisions in those states conflicted with federal law relating to gift cards. The CFPB received twenty comments from interested parties - two from consumer advocacy groups and eighteen from gift card issuers and trade associations.

Audit Nightmare: Select Medical Corp

Select Medical Corporation, a Delaware incorporated entity, has sued the State of Delaware in federal court over the state's recent audit assessment for unclaimed property. The company is challenging Delaware on many aspects, including the retroactive application of its extrapolation statute.

Patricia Barganier Thorn to Speak to State Treasurers

National Association of State TreasurersPatricia Barganier Thorn is scheduled to speak about unclaimed property at the 2013 National Association of State Treasurers' Treasury Management Symposium. Tricia is scheduled to speak on a panel discussing specific unclaimed property reporting issues such as reciprocity, foreign owners, third party administrators, and what constitutes contact.

New Atlanta Office Location

RaviniaThe Atlanta offices of Barganier and Associates, LLC have moved from Virginia-Highlands to the Ashford-Dunwoody area. The new address is:

Two Ravinia Drive, Suite 500
Atlanta, Georgia 30346

Our phone numbers and email addresses have not changed. You may still reach us at (404) 885-1111.

We look forward to continuing to serve our clients' unclaimed property needs from our new location.

Changes Coming to Alabama Unclaimed Property Law

Caution: Bridge AheadThe Alabama legislature has presented House Bill 112 to the governor for signature. The bill would make several changes to the current unclaimed property law in the state of Alabama.

Most of these changes are not substantive in nature for a holder corporation with a robust compliance program. It is notable that the legislature is delegating much more authority to the Treasurer for the details, such as rules relating to aggregate reporting and due diligence thresholds. For holders, this increases the compliance burden, as an employee must constantly check and verify any changes to regulations, rules, and other correspondence from the state administrator.

California Bill to Require Due Diligence on All Properties

AB 212 saw action yesterday in the Assembly Judiciary Committee, where the bill passed despite opposition by several groups. The California Bankers Association opposes the requirement to send letters to every property owner, as the increased burden and administrative costs outweigh the benefit.

Under the bill, as written, holders would be required to send a letter to payees of a check worth pennies. The cost of the stamp alone is more than the property is worth and probably why the payee did not cash the check in the first place.

Is Nevada Looking to Become More Holder Friendly?

What cards are you holding?Nevada state Senator Michael Roberson (R) has introduced a bill that would amend several provisions of the state's unclaimed property law. The revisions would include: a new business-to-business exemption for both accounts payable and accounts receivable property types, a de minimis exemption for all property under $50, a prohibition against contingent fee auditing, and reductions in the statute of limitations and record retention requirements.