Unclaimed Property and Corporate Compliance News

Delaware Bill to Expand Voluntary Disclosure Program

Delaware is starting off the legislative season with a bill to amend the state's unclaimed property law, particularly as it applies to Voluntary Disclosure Agreements. The bill addresses three things:

Alert: Connecticut Reports Due March 28

Unclaimed property reports are generally due to Connecticut on March 31, ninety (90) days after the close of the calendar year. Connecticut requires that the reports be received in their unclaimed property offices by this day, in order for the reports to be filed timely.

In 2013, March 31 falls on a Sunday. Furthermore, March 29, the preceding business day, is a state holiday as they observe Good Friday. As such, this year's report is due on March 28, 2013.

Judgment Creditors May Recover Unclaimed Property in California

The California Court of Appeals has ruled on Weingarten Realty Investors v. Chiang, a case concerning claims made by assignees. Weingarten is a judgment creditor of Novadyne Computer Systems, Inc. The local Superior Court assigned to Weingarten certain properties being held for Novadyne by the California State Controller's office as unclaimed property. Weingarten attempted to claim, through the established claims procedures, the unclaimed property held in Novadyne's name. California denied the claim as Weingarten was not the owner of the property. The California Court of Appeals affirmed the San Diego Superior Court, ruling that an assignee has an interest in the property and may recover the property from the California State Controller's office.

This is not the first case in 2012 where the California Controller lost cases for not returning property to claimants. Earlier in 2012, the Ninth Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Court ruled that the Controller had to turn over properties to bankruptcy trustees.

North Dakota Bill on Contract Auditing

The North Dakota Board of University and School Lands has sponsored a pre-filed bill for the 2013 legislative session that concerns unclaimed property. The bill, S.B. 2058, proposes the removal of a prohibition against contracting for audits or examinations. Specifically, the following language would be removed from Subsection 2 of Section 47-30.1-30: "The administrator may not contract for an examination done within this state."

Merry Christmas!

Barganier and Associates hopes that everyone has a very Merry Christmas.

Our offices will be closed both Monday, December 24 and Tuesday, December 25, so that our staff can enjoy the holidays with their families. The office will re-open on December 26.

Michigan Considers Increasing Dormancy Periods for Most Property Types

Michigan is in the running for becoming holder state of the year with another holder friendly bill being introduced in late November. HB 6067 would increase most dormancy periods from three years to five years, including the default catch-all dormancy period. This would specifically apply to most bank and financial institution accounts, except for trust accounts and Uniform Gifts to Minors accounts, which would be fifteen years. It would also apply to most checks, dividends, insurance policies, fiduciary property, including IRAs, and gift cards.

Missouri Issues Guidance on Gift Certificates (Sales Tax)

Missouri has offered guidance to a re-seller of gift certificates that the sale of the gift certificate is not subject to sales tax as the certificate does not represent tangible goods or certain taxable services.

Sales tax is applied when the customer redeems the gift certificates for the goods or services from the issuing company. Even if the gift certificates were sold at below face-value, sales tax should be applied to the full face value of the certificate.

New Federal Bill Could Impact Your Gift Card Program

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn) is sponsoring the Gift Card Consumer Protection Act of 2012. His bill, if passed, would amend current federal law, notably the CARD Act of 2009, to prohibit gift card expiration dates, as well as most dormancy fees. Further, the Act would extend these rules to loyalty, award, and promotional gift cards.

Happy Thanksgiving

Barganier and Associates, LLC would like to say thank you for all our clients, team members and friends.

In celebration, Barganier and Associates will be closed on November 22 and November 23. We will reopen on Monday, November 26 with our normal hours.

Happy Thanksgiving!

11 Year Lawsuit in California Dismissed by Federal Judge

U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez has granted a motion to dismiss an eleven year case over California's unclaimed property program and their attempts to notify owners of lost or abandoned property. The Court ruled that the California State Controller, John Chiang, is in compliance with the state's unclaimed property law, which has been found constitutional by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.