Practice Areas

Abandoned and Unclaimed Property

Ryan’s Abandoned and Unclaimed Property (AUP) practice is one of the largest in the United States and the only end-to-end, fully integrated AUP service offering in the industry.

With state enforcement of unclaimed property on the rise, Ryan’s highly experienced experts help navigate complex state regulations and potential audit risks to protect profitability and cash flow.

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Abandoned and Unclaimed Property

Ryan's Abandoned and Unclaimed Property (AUP) practice is the most seasoned, accomplished, and respected team in the industry. With more than 200 years of collective experience, we are a national practice comprised of former state unclaimed property auditors, certified public accountants (CPAs), certified fraud examiners, and attorneys—most of whom have years of Big 4 experience. 

Our professionals are committed to helping our clients navigate the maze of AUP laws, efficiently applying them to their businesses and effectively managing state enforcement efforts. Our professionals have extensive experience identifying and quantifying AUP liabilities, and help our clients develop a strategy to minimize AUP exposure. Whether your company needs assistance with unclaimed property risk assessments and voluntary disclosures, unclaimed property/escheat audit assistance/defense, unclaimed property annual compliance, policies and procedures, or recommendations on best practices/process improvements, we can help you meet your goals.

When most companies think about abandoned and unclaimed property (AUP), they focus on the requirement to report and remit property in the company’s possession belonging to another, whereby the rightful owner has either failed to express an ownership interest in the property or assert their right to the property.  As an example, an uncashed vendor payment under most state laws must be reported and remitted (escheated) to the jurisdiction of the owner’s last known address between three and five years of inactivity (termed “dormancy”).

However, the same companies often overlook the significant bastion of assets held by states, counties, local municipalities, state and federal court systems, licensing and permitting agencies, to name a few, as a source for recovering their own assets. What’s more is that certain categories of property are often not subject to escheatment by various state and governmental agencies yet remain unclaimed by their owners. An example of this is a property tax rebate or refund. In most states, county and city uncashed disbursements are not subject to AUP reporting, and generally, after three years, if the disbursement is not cashed, the owner will forever lose the rights to the property.

With our years of experience, Ryan’s Abandoned and Unclaimed Property (AUP) practice can assist your company with filing voluntary disclosures with the applicable states. Depending on the rules/program in each state, this process could be as simple as estimating the liability and providing a report of items or as complex as providing a detailed report with estimations, calculations, detailed data, and supporting documentation and meeting with state representatives to negotiate and finalize a settlement. Ryan can assist with all aspects of the voluntary disclosure in a manner that will allow your company to reach full compliance and mitigate exposure, as well as penalties and interest, where available.

Each year, more than 40 million people move to a new address. These individuals chance becoming displaced with their investments if they fail to update important account record information. For corporations, this creates risk associated with dormant accounts that are now subject to escheatment. As the holder of these liabilities, corporations face significant challenges retaining customer investments, reducing escheatment, and mitigating financial risk. 

State regulators have a heightened sense of interest in escheatment opportunities. In recent years, unclaimed property has become a significant revenue source for state government. Audit activity has increased drastically as states look to fill budget deficits with revenue generated from unclaimed assets. The results can yield multi-million dollar liability assessments or settlements. 

Ryan’s Search and Location services can drastically reduce escheatment risk while improving investor retention on dormant accounts. Our proactive Pre-Escheat Asset Recovery (PEAR) and Corporate Action Asset Recovery (CAAR) programs employ thorough, in-depth research combined with professional outreach campaigns that deliver measurable, targeted results. 

PEAR
Ryan’s PEAR program provides a robust outreach campaign that analyzes client files for missing account holder data, conducts in-depth research, and assists “Lost” account holders in claiming their assets. Our specialists work with the account holder in an effective and yet respectful manner, representing our client’s interests with a thorough approach. We explore the nature of the situation for each “Lost” account holder and determine the best course of action to achieve resolution. 

CAAR
After a mandatory corporate action such as a merger, acquisition, or reverse stock split, up to 20% of registered shareholders may fail to exchange their shares. These investors risk asset escheatment because they have failed to take the required action. To compound the problem, they are unable to liquidate or transfer their shares because they have not properly exchanged their stock. The CAAR program identifies the reason hindering an exchange and works to resolve the issues at hand to the benefit of both the investor and the corporation. 

Ryan’s Abandoned and Unclaimed Property (AUP) practice has a dedicated team of professionals who specialize in outsourcing and compliance services. Our team can analyze your raw data to determine which items are reportable and to what states. Using that raw data, we can provide a number of services, including:

  • Preparation of the annual unclaimed property reports in the required format necessary for each state
  • Creation, mailing, and response tracking of statutory due diligence letters
  • Identification of potential exclusions, including statutory business-to-business exemptions, de minimis payroll exemptions, duplicate items, and available deductions
  • Preparation of the payments to the various jurisdictions

Ryan’s Abandoned and Unclaimed Property (AUP) practice has years of experience in dealing with state and third-party audits, both from the perspective of defending them as holder advocates, as well as through team members who were once auditors themselves. Our team includes former state and third-party auditors who understand this process from the inside. We use this experience to guide our clients through the audit to help manage the process to an effective and efficient conclusion.

The first critical step for any company seeking compliance with the abandoned and unclaimed property (AUP) laws in each state is to perform a risk assessment. Ryan can assist a company by performing two types of risk assessments. 

  • Qualitative Risk Assessment: Encompasses interviewing key employees and reviewing pertinent documents and records to review and assess your company’s existing unclaimed property environment. Subsequently, a comparison analysis is performed against best practices for your industry, and gaps are identified along with a remediation strategy.
  • Quantitative Risk Assessment: Involves performing a detailed, diagnostic review (Phase I) of the books and records of the company and estimating a high-level potential exposure calculation to help your company get a real sense of potential worst-case liability. Ryan can also work with you to research and remediate the items identified as potential unclaimed property to help mitigate the actual exposure (Phase II). Furthermore, Ryan has a dedicated team of statisticians, who can assist in developing statistical sampling methodologies to create a more streamlined and efficient research and remediation process.

Ryan’s Abandoned and Unclaimed Property (AUP) practice can assist with the review of your company’s existing internal controls and policies and procedures, both formal and informal, and identify potential compliance gaps. We can also assist your company in formulating an action plan for compliance so that it can begin a thorough review of books and records and ensure that all property requiring escheat is included in the annual compliance process.

Some of the tasks that may be utilized during this review include:

  • Conducting onsite interviews with the key functional area leaders (e.g., Accounts Payable, Payroll, Accounts Receivable, and Risk Management) to understand the past and present procedures to identify, capture, remediate, and report, on a consistent basis, transactions determined to be unclaimed property
  • Assisting in the identification of other additional categories of potential unclaimed property based on the company’s operations
  • Reviewing document record retention policies to determine whether they satisfy the various jurisdictions' requirements
  • Determining whether processes are in place to identify legislative/administrative changes that affect the reporting process (e.g., change in dormancy periods and online filing requirements)
  • Identifying the individual(s)/department(s) responsible for each step in the compliance process

At the conclusion of the internal control review, Ryan will provide management with a written summary of findings and recommendations.

Ryan can assist in the development of customized written policies and procedures and provide in-house staff training to help your company implement its escheat reporting practices, along with identifying gaps while building a governance model for managing enterprise-wide unclaimed property responsibilities. Some of the services that Ryan’s team can provide include:

  • Defining roles and responsibilities regarding your company's unclaimed property compliance process
  • Documenting the current unclaimed property process and identifying process improvements and best practices
  • Assessing compliance options
  • Drafting Unclaimed Property Corporate Governance Framework documents
  • Providing in-house staff training as part of the implementation of the new procedures

Tracker PRO Unclaimed Property software is the nation’s leading unclaimed property technology application. Tracker PRO is a comprehensive, user-friendly application that consolidates abandoned property records from multiple sources across your enterprise, simplifying your compliance with due diligence requirements, and generating all the necessary statutory reports for state filing purposes. Thousands of companies rely on the application to stay in compliance, and it can be installed on your network or used over the Internet as a hosted application (SaaS). 

Read more about Tracker PRO

Ryan's Abandoned and Unclaimed Property (AUP) practice can help your company with strategic planning issues surrounding the design, implementation and maintenance of your company’s gift certificate/card program.

Design Steps: 

  • Assess potential implementation components, including operational considerations, legal structure of the gift-card maintenance company (GCMC), jurisdiction of domicile or incorporation, and potential tax issues
  • Research and discuss key issues and alternatives
  • Evaluate operational considerations, including GCMC entity selection, flow of transactions and intercompany agreements, accounting and financial reporting implications, systems integration, and GCMC services

Implementation Steps:

  • Form new entity/utilize existing entity
  • Develop intercompany guidelines and pricing
  • Identify and evaluate requisite filings with state agencies
  • Develop state income/franchise tax filing positions
  • Address business purpose and corporate substance considerations
  • Integrate GCMC with overall business purpose and operations
  • Work with legal counsel with regard to obtaining requisite legal documents
  • Create report summary of implementation process methodology

Maintenance Steps:

  • Analyze functioning of planning strategies and GCMC structure
  • Develop plan enhancements in response to changes in unclaimed property and tax laws, corporate direction, and business environment
  • Perform a strategy checkup six months after the date of structure implementation

Integrated End-to-End Tax Services

Ryan is focused on your overall tax performance—providing innovative solutions to the underlying causes of the errors we identify—and creating greater opportunities to measure and improve your efficiency, develop a more strategic approach to tax, and deliver outstanding value to your shareholders.