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Unclaimed Property Rules and Time Limits for Arizona

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 Arizona.

In Arizona, all things relating to unclaimed property are handled by the Unclaimed Property Unit of the Arizona 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).

Arizona businesses have a number of responsibilities concerning unclaimed property. For example, businesses have various 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 Arizona property is generally presumed abandoned up to five years after it was payable to the owner depending on the type of property. 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.

To better help you understand all sides of the unclaimed property process in your state, we include detailed information on the following topics:

Reporting Unclaimed Property in Arizona

Arizona requires information reports from persons holding property that has escheated to the state by reason of a presumption of abandonment. The report is made to the Department of Revenue and is due before November 1 for each year ending as of the preceding June 30. Insurance companies file by May 1 of each year ending as of the preceding December 31.

The report requires identification of the property and its former owner and dates when the property became payable and when the last transaction with the owner occurred.

Delivery. Persons who are required to file information reports deliver the property to the Department of Revenue at the same time. The Department may decline to accept property or may dispose of property without value.

Recordkeeping. A business must generally maintain related records five years after the unclaimed property is reported. However, the period is three years for traveler's checks, money orders, and similar financial instruments.

Penalties. Interest is charged at the annual rate of 18 percent for failure to deliver property. If the failure is willful, the holder is subject to a civil penalty equal to 25 percent of the value of the property. a holder who refuses to deliver after written demand is guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor.

Claiming Unclaimed Property in Arizona

Property is generally presumed abandoned up to five years after it was payable to the owner depending on the type of property. 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 Arizona, unclaimed property held by the state may be found by searching the state's website (http://www.azunclaimed.gov/).

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).

The Arizona Department of Revenue is also required to publish a notice by November 30 of the year after the year in which abandoned property has been paid or delivered to the Department. The notice is published for two successive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation and is also sent to each apparent owner individually. Notice is not required if the property has a total value of less than $50 or if the property is a traveler's check, money order, or similar instrument.

Filing a claim. Claims for recovery of abandoned property are made to the Department of Revenue on forms designated by the department. Within 90 days of the filing of a claim, the Department will notify the claimant in writing of its finding if the claim is denied in whole or in part.

A person dissatisfied with a decision of the Department may bring an action in the superior court within 90 days after the decision. A person whose claim has not been acted upon within 90 days after its filing may bring an action in the superior court within 180 after the filing.

Arizona 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 Arizona, contact the following:

Arizona Department of Revenue
Unclaimed Property Unit
P.O. Box 29026
Site Code 604
Phoenix, AZ 85038-9026
Phone: (602) 716-6031
Website: http://www.azunclaimed.gov/

Arizona Abandoned Property Time Limits

Property Type Presumed Abandoned After
Bank account five years
Checks or drafts three years
Demutualization proceeds no specific provision
Gift certificates, gift cards, and credit memos Customer credit: five years.
Gift certificates and electronic gift cards are exempt from reporting requirements.
Insurance policies Life or annuity policies: three years.
The presumed maturity of an insurance policy is three years.
IRAs or retirement funds IRAs and defined benefit plan funds: three years.
Money orders seven years
Other intangible personal property not otherwise specified five years.
Includes business association debt.
Proceeds from class action suits one year
Property distributable by a business association in the course of dissolution three years after the date set for final distribution
Property held by courts or public agencies three years
Warrants issued by the state are presumed abandoned on the void date indicated on the warrant.
Property held by fiduciaries no specific provision
Safe deposit boxes one year
Shares in a financial institution no specific provision
Stocks, dividends, and distributions three years
Traveler's checks 15
Deposits and advances owed utility company customer no specific provision
Wages or salaries one year

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