Unclaimed Property Rules and Time Limits for Arkansas
Learn the unclaimed property rules and their time limits for the state of Arkansas.
In Arkansas, all things relating to unclaimed property are handled by the Unclaimed Property Division of the Auditor of State.
- 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).
Arkansas 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 Arkansas property is generally presumed abandoned if it remains unclaimed by the owner for more than five years after it became 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 the burden of reclaiming their property from the state.
Reporting Unclaimed Property in Arkansas
In Arkansas, information reports are required of persons holding property ( e.g., banks, insurance companies) which has escheated to the state by reason of a presumption of abandonment. The report is made to the Auditor of State and is due before November 1 for each year and cover the 12 months next preceding July 1 of that year. For life insurance companies, reports must be filed before May 1 of each year for the calendar year next preceding. Report and remittance of unclaimed insurance company demutualization proceeds must be filed before May 1 of each year for the calendar year next preceding.
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.
Prior notice to owner. Holders of abandoned property must send written notice to owners at their last known address informing them that the property will be turned over to the state. However, this requirement applies only under all of the following conditions:
- The address for the owner does not appear to be inaccurate;
- The property has a value of $50.00 or more; and
- The statute of limitation does not bar the claim of the owner.
The notice must be sent not less than 60 days or more than 120 days before filing the report with the state.
Delivery. Persons who have filed information reports are required to deliver the property to the Auditor of State upon filing the report, except for property held in a safe deposit box or other safekeeping depository or an automatically renewable deposit on which a penalty or forfeiture in the payment of interest would result. Tangible property held in a safe deposit box or other safekeeping depository may not be delivered to the state until 120 days after filing the information report. The time for delivery for automatically renewable deposits is extended until a penalty or forfeiture would no longer result.
The Auditor may decline to accept property without value. Once property has been delivered, liability is assumed by the state.
Recordkeeping. A business must generally maintain related records 10 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 two percent above the bank prime loan rate as reported in the Federal Reserve Board Statistical release H.15, or any updating publication, on the date the property should have been reported, paid, or delivered.
A penalty is also charged for the failure to report, pay, or deliver property on time at a rate of $200 for each day the report, payment, or delivery is withheld, up to a maximum of $5,000. An additional penalty is imposed for the willful failure to report, pay, or deliver property at a rate of $1,000 for each day the report, payment, or delivery is withheld, up to a maximum of $25,000, plus 25 percent of the value of any property that should have been, but was not, reported. The State Auditor has the authority to waive interest or penalties for good cause if the holder acted in good faith and without negligence.
Claiming Unclaimed Property in Arkansas
In Arkansas, property is generally presumed abandoned if it remains unclaimed by the owner for more than five years after it became 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 the burden of reclaim it back from the state. Fortunately, there is no time limit for making a claim to the state auditor. However, the money that is never claimed is transferred into the Arkansas general fund.
Locating abandoned property held by the state. The Auditor of State is required to publish a notice in a newspaper of general circulation not later than November 30 of the year next following the year in which abandoned property has been paid or delivered to the state. The notice must provide the names of the apparent owners together with their last known address.
Unclaimed property held by the state may also be found by searching the state's website (http://www.state.ar.us/auditor/unclprop/).
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.
Claims for recovery of abandoned property are made to the Auditor of State on forms designated by that officer, who will notify the claimant in writing of his finding within 90 days.
A person dissatisfied with a decision of the Auditor or a person whose claim has not been acted upon within 90 days after its filing may bring an action in the Circuit Court of Pulaski County.
Arkansas 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 Arkansas, contact the following:
Arkansas Unclaimed Property Division
Auditor of State
1401 West Capitol Avenue, Suite 325
Little Rock, AR 72201
Phone: (501) 682-6030
Arkansas Abandoned Property Time Limits
|Property Type ||Presumed Abandoned After |
|Bank account ||five years |
|Checks or drafts ||no specific provisions |
|Demutualization proceeds ||five years |
|Gift certificates, gift cards, and credit memos ||Customer credits: three years. |
|Insurance policies ||Life or annuity policies: 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 ||Business association debt: five years.
Other property: five years.
|Proceeds from class action suits ||one year |
|Property distributable by a business association in the course of dissolution ||one year after the date set for final distribution |
|Property held by courts or public agencies ||one year |
|Property held by fiduciaries ||no specific provision |
|Safe deposit boxes ||five years |
|Shares in a financial institution ||no specific provision |
|Stocks, dividends, and distributions ||five years |
|Traveler's checks ||15 |
|Deposits and advances owed utility company customer ||one year |
|Wages or salaries ||one year |