News and Insights

New York Initiates Unclaimed Property Amnesty with Outreach Program

Tax Development Oct 23, 2003

The State of New York today began sending letters to non-compliant holders of unclaimed property, offering them a unique opportunity to comply without penalty. The New York Office of Unclaimed Funds recently researched the New York Secretary of State business registry to match company names with its holder compliance database. Any company it found that is licensed to do business with the state, but is not in compliance with its unclaimed property laws, will receive a letter as part of the Outreach Program. The Program permits businesses and organizations with unclaimed property obligations to voluntarily report past obligations without penalty or interest assessments within 6 months of receiving this letter and to qualify for favorable treatment. Businesses that do not respond in a timely fashion to this letter will be referred to the state's audit program.

Any type of organization or business (including not-for-profit) in any industry has the potential to generate unclaimed property and be subject to these state laws. Certain industries generate unique types of unclaimed property, including retailers, health care, transportation, utilities, insurance, and financial institutions. Types of unclaimed property typically include, but are not limited to: uncashed payroll, accounts payable and benefit checks, unclaimed deposits, unidentified payments, credit balances, and gift certificates. In short, any amount that may be owed to another person or legal entity and remains outstanding could be considered unclaimed property. Further, amounts that have been written off the books, or if documentation is lacking to substantiate the appropriate disposition of funds, the state has the authority to develop an estimated liability for these items under audit.

Companies can take a proactive approach to unclaimed property compliance with a voluntary review of compliance needs and objectives. By undergoing a self-review, companies can resolve any unclaimed property exposure with the identification, quantification, and negotiation of favorable voluntary disclosure terms with New York, or any other jurisdiction where property is found due.

Companies that may not be in compliance with New York's unclaimed property laws and regulations can apply for amnesty, unless the state has contacted you for audit. Amnesty will not be extended beyond the 6 month period if your company has received an Outreach Program letter.

If you have any questions regarding the above information, please contact Mr. G. Brint Ryan, Managing Principal of Ryan & Company, at 972.934.0022. Mr. Ryan can also be reached via e-mail.