News and Insights

States Take Action to Ensure Revenue Generation Through Unclaimed Property

Tax Development Feb 07, 2003

States today are more aggressively focused on unclaimed property collections as a significant source of revenue and all industries have become targets. Unclaimed property revenue has provided many states with a windfall of general fund revenue without the political stigma of tax increases or the introduction of new legislation. A recent issue of The News Journal, a Delaware newspaper, illustrated this fact with a headline that blared: "$51.5 Million Windfall Cuts Delaware Deficit." $47.1 million of this reported "windfall" came from a single company settling a case with the Delaware State Escheator.

With these increasing enforcement efforts, companies are often left in the dark as to the application and scope of these laws. A well-established, multi-state company may have to contend with understanding and applying the law of 53 separate jurisdictions to be in full compliance. Furthermore, companies are often faced with the prospect of a single or multi-state audit for unclaimed property, for which there is no statute of limitations.

Scope of the Practice & Types of Services

To benefit our clients in this area, Ryan & Company has established a practice to assist companies with every aspect of unclaimed property reporting. We offer the following services for our clients:

    Voluntary disclosure & compliance: includes quantification and mitigation of amounts that may be owed to all states; in contemplation of subsequent voluntary disclosure with applicable states where necessary.
  Audit Defense: representation and development of an audit strategy to contest the administration of an unclaimed audit performed by a state or third party audit firm.
  Transaction planning: proactive unclaimed property compliance planning for types of transactions and instruments that may qualify for exemptions and/or deductions, including gift certificates and pre-paid calling cards.
  Compliance outsourcing: complete outsourcing of the unclaimed property compliance function(s), for purposes of reducing the administrative burden and cost of dedicating internal resources to comply with up to 53 jurisdictional requirements.
  Asset recovery: Assistance with recovering unclaimed amounts that may be owed to companies in various jurisdictions.

Targeted Industries

Unclaimed property compliance is required of businesses in all industries, while impacting some more so than others. The activities of many state agencies are also governed by the application of these laws. Our professionals have experience assisting the following industries with unclaimed property concerns: healthcare, financial services, public utility, retail, restaurant, hospitality, manufacturing, not-for-profit, telecommunications, and transportation.


Several opportunities may exist if your company has issues or concerns about compliance with state unclaimed property laws. Proactive analysis and subsequent voluntary disclosure of previously unreported property can yield significant reductions in the amounts ultimately remitted and abatement of interest and penalty assessments.

Ryan & Company can also assist your company if it sells gift certificates or prepaid calling cards to take advantage of favorable unclaimed property laws in certain jurisdictions. Planning in this area can greatly benefit companies looking to increase profits associated with these types of instruments.

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.