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Unclaimed Property Rules and Time Limits for Alaska

Filed under Basic Accounting. Fact checked on May 24, 2012.

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Learn the unclaimed property rules and their time limits for the state of Alaska.

In Alaska, all things relating to unclaimed property are handled by the Unclaimed Property Unit of the Alaska Department of Revenue.

  • As a business owner, this will be the agency to contact if you possess unclaimed property (unpaid wages, for example). Remember that you are subject to both reporting requirements and the obligation to turn over abandoned property to the state.
  • It is also the point of contact if you believe that you may have knowingly, or unknowingly, abandoned property (for example, failing to get back a security deposit, didn't receive a tax refund).

Alaska businesses have a number of responsibilities concerning unclaimed property. Initially, written notice must be sent to the apparent owner of the unclaimed property, if known. If the property remains unclaimed, businesses have a number of filing and reporting requirements to fulfill. Most importantly, businesses are required to turn over any and all unclaimed property to the state. Stiff penalties apply to businesses who fail to comply with any of these requirements.

Individuals should know that Alaska property is generally presumed abandoned if it remains unclaimed by the owner for more than three years after becoming payable or distributable. However, this time limit varies depending on the type of property involved. Once abandoned property is turned over to the state by a business, an individual then has three years to reclaim it before the state sells the property to the highest bidder at a public sale.

Reporting Unclaimed Property in Alaska

A holder of abandoned property with a value of $750 or more must file a verified annual report to the Department of Revenue containing prescribed information concerning the property. The report is due on or before November 1, as of June 30. The filing date may be postponed upon written request.

Personal property consigned to or deposited with a forwarding merchant, wharf, or warehouse, tavern or depot keeper that is not claimed and taken away within one year after the time of its deposit or consignment must be reported to the Department of Revenue if the property is of a type otherwise reportable as abandoned property, even though the law does not consider such property as abandoned property for unclaimed property purposes. After the one-year period, the consignee or depositee is authorized to sell the property.

The Department of Revenue may require any person who has not filed a report to submit a verified report stating whether he is holding reportable unclaimed property. Also, the general authority of the Department of Revenue to file a return on behalf of a person who fails to file a return or files a false or fraudulent return applies to a person who fails to file the annual report of abandoned property.

Prior notice to owner. Not more than 120 days before filing the report, the holder of abandoned property must send written notice to the apparent owner at his last known address.

If an insurance company learns of the death of the insured or annuitant and the beneficiary has not communicated with the insurer within four months after the death, the company must take reasonable steps to pay the proceeds to the beneficiary.

Delivery. The holder of abandoned property pays or delivers the property to the Department of Revenue at the time of filing the annual report. The Department may decline to receive property of insubstantial value. On the other hand, it may agree to receive property before it is presumed to be abandoned. In such a case, the Department holds such property as ordinary property, which shall be presumed abandoned only at the end of the presumptive period.

From the date of delivery or remittance, the holder is relieved of any liability for safekeeping of the property and from any claim which may arise in respect of the property.

The expiration of any statutory, contractual or court-ordered time limitation for the commencement of an action or the enforcement of a money claim or property recovery does not affect the duty to pay or deliver the property.

Recordkeeping. a holder of unclaimed property must keep a record of the name and last known address of the owner of the property for ten years after the property becomes reportable, unless a shorter period is provided by administrative rule.

The Department of Revenue has the power to examine a person's records to determine compliance with the statutory requirements, even if the person believes he or she is not holding reportable property. If no records are kept, the Department of Revenue may require a holder to report and pay based on estimates from available records.

Penalties. a person who willfully fails to render any report or perform other required duties is liable for the penalties imposed in civil cases in general. A person who willfully refuses to pay or deliver property to the Department of Revenue after written demand is guilty of a class a misdemeanor.

A person who fails to pay or deliver property on time is also liable for interest (at an indexed rate) from the date the property should have been delivered.

Claiming Unclaimed Property in Alaska

Property is generally presumed abandoned if it remains unclaimed by the owner for more than three years after becoming payable or distributable. However, this time limit varies depending on the type of property involved. Once abandoned property is turned over to the state by a business, an individual then has three years to reclaim it before the state sells the property to the highest bidder at a public sale.

Locating abandoned property held by the state. In Alaska, unclaimed property held by the state may be found by searching the state's website (http://www.dor.alaska.gov/treasury/programs/programs/index.aspx?23050).

To find out if other states may be holding your unclaimed property, search the national database established by the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA).

Filing a claim. A person, excluding another state, claiming an interest in any property paid or delivered as abandoned property may file a verified claim with the Department of Revenue. The procedure is essentially the same where the claimant is another state, except that the claim will be allowed only in those circumstances where the other state has some basis for claiming a custodial relationship with the property as enumerated in the statute.

A person unsatisfied with the Department's decision or action may try to resolve the contested issue in an informal or formal conference within 60 days after the mailing date of the Department's notice (or within 30 days if a formal conference is being requested after a decision resulting from an informal conference).

A person still unsatisfied with a decision of the Department of Revenue may also appeal to the superior court of the judicial district in which the person resides within 30 days after the formal hearing and decision.

Alaska Unclaimed Property Resources

If you're looking for additional information on unclaimed property, we recommend contacting your state's governmental agency that oversees the administration of this area of the law. For help in answering a specific unclaimed property question in Alaska, contact the following:

State of Alaska
Department of Revenue, Tax Division
Unclaimed Property
P.O. Box 110420
Juneau, AK 99811-0420
Phone: (907) 465-3726
Fax: (907) 465-2394
E-mail: unclaimed_property@revenue.state.ak.us
Website: http://www.dor.alaska.gov/treasury/programs/programs/index.aspx?23050

Each state has rules that specify the amount of time that must elapse before unclaimed property is considered to be abandoned. The amount of time varies with the type of property. The chart below specifies the time period for various classes of property.

Property Type Presumed Abandoned After
Bank account five years
A demand, savings, or matured time deposit with a banking or financial organization is not presumed abandoned if the owner did one of the following within the preceding five years:
  • in the case of a deposit, increased or decreased the amount in the account or presented the passbook or other similar evidence of the deposit for the crediting of interest;
  • communicated in writing with the banking or financial organization concerning the property; or
  • otherwise indicated an interest in the property as evidenced by a memorandum or other record, on file, prepared by an employee of the banking or financial organization.
Property distributable by a business association in the course of dissolution one year after the date set for final distribution
Money that a business association has been ordered by the court or administrative agency to refund is presumed abandoned if it remains unclaimed by the owner for more than one year after it became payable in accordance with the final determination or order providing for the refund (regardless of whether the final determination or order requires the owner to make a claim for it).
Checks or drafts five years after they are payable or after their issuance if payable on demand.
The presumption of abandonment does not apply if the owner, within the preceding five years, has communicated in writing with the banking or financial organization concerning the instrument or has otherwise indicated an interest in the instrument (as evidenced by a memorandum or other record, on file, prepared by an employee of the organization).
Demutualization proceeds two years
Gift certificates, gift cards, and credit memos three years
Gift cards that are not purchased are exempt from reporting requirements.
Insurance policies Life or annuity policies: three years
IRAs or retirement funds no specific provision
Money orders seven years
Other intangible personal property not otherwise specified three years
Proceeds from class action suits no specific provision
Property held by courts or public agencies one year
Property held by fiduciaries three years
Safe deposit boxes one year
Shares in a financial institution five years
Stocks, dividends, and distributions five years
Includes net margins from a cooperative.
Traveler's checks 15 years
Deposits and advances owed utility company customer one year
Wages or salaries one year

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