Unclaimed Property Rules and Time Limits for Colorado
Learn the unclaimed property rules and their time limits for the state of Colorado.
In Colorado, all things relating to unclaimed property are handled by the Unclaimed Property Division of the Colorado State Treasury.
- 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).
Colorado 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 Colorado property is generally presumed abandoned five years from the date of the last customer-initiated contact. 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 it from the state.
Reporting Unclaimed Property in Colorado
In Colorado, a holder of abandoned property must report unclaimed property as of June 30 to the State Treasurer by November 1. The Treasurer may extend the time to file the report upon written request. Life insurance companies report unclaimed property as of December 31 to the Treasurer by May 1.
The report must include the following information:
- if known, the name and last known address of the owner of any property except money orders;
- in the case of insurance corporations with unclaimed funds of $25 or more, the full name of the insured or annuitant and the last known address appearing on the corporation's records;
- a description of the tangible property and the place where it may be inspected;
- a description of the property, including any identifying number, and the amount due, with items valued under $25 reported in the aggregate;
- the date the property became payable, demandable, or returnable;
- the date of the last transaction with the owner with respect to the property;
- all prior names of the holder and the names of all prior holders of the property; and
- any other information prescribed by the Treasurer.
A business with annual gross receipts of less than $500,000 or a nonprofit organization with annual contributions of $1 million or more that holds unclaimed property acquired in a five-year period of an aggregate value under $3,500 does not file a report until the aggregate value for a five-year period exceeds that amount. However, the business or nonprofit organization reports property from one owner with an aggregate value over $250 in a five-year period. A nonprofit organization with less than $1 million in annual contributions is not required to file a report.
Prior notice to owner. Within 120 days before filing the report, a holder must send written notice that the property is unclaimed to owners of property valued at $50 or more.
Delivery. Along with the report, the holder must deliver the unclaimed funds and intangible property to the Treasurer. The holder does not deliver property that is claimed, but reports the fact to the Treasurer.
The holder may retain sums owing from the property plus two percent of the value of the property or $25 per item, whichever is more.
The Treasurer may decline to receive property of little value. The holder will be notified within 120 days after filing the report if the Treasurer declines the property. The holder may deliver property before it is presumed abandoned.
Recordkeeping. A holder must maintain a record of the owner's last known address for five years after the property becomes reportable. A banking or financial organization maintains records of the state of sale and date of issue of money orders and other similar written instruments, other than third-party bank checks, while they remain outstanding, for three years after the date the property is reportable.
Penalties. a holder that fails to file a report pays interest at the rate of 18 percent per year. The holder also is liable for a penalty of $100 per day up to an aggregate of $5,000. A business with annual gross receipts of less than $500,000 that acts in good faith is not subject to the penalties and interest.
Claiming Unclaimed Property in Colorado
In Colorado, property is generally presumed abandoned five years from the date of the last customer-initiated contact. 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 to reclaim it from the state.
Locating abandoned property held by the state. The Colorado State Treasurer publishes the Great Colorado Payback list each year. This list is published in statewide newspapers and distributed to public libraries and various government offices.
The Treasurer also sends a notice directly to thousands of property owners if a new address can be determined.
In addition, unclaimed property held by the state may also be found by searching the state's website (https://www.colorado.gov/apps/treasury/ucp/claims/index.faces).
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. Those filing a claim to recover their property must follow the following steps:
- Contact the Unclaimed Property Division office.
- Identify yourself as being on the unclaimed property list and state the basis of your claim (e.g., as owner, co-owner, heir, etc.).
- Provide your Social Security Number or business federal tax identification number.
- If asked to do so, provide your residences for the past five years, previous names and other identifying information.
After the initial contact, the Unclaimed Property Division will send you a claim form to fill out and return. Along with the form, you will need to submit proof of ownership. The claim form you receive will list the required documentation.
If denied, the Treasurer is required to give a written decision within 90 days after the filing of the claim. A person dissatisfied with the decision or whose claim has not been acted upon within the 90 days may bring an action to establish the claim in a court of competent jurisdiction. The action is filed within 90 days of the decision or, if the claim was not acted upon, within 180 days of filing the claim.
Colorado 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 Colorado, contact the following:
Colorado Department of Treasury
Unclaimed Property Division
1580 Logan St., Suite 500
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: (303) 866-6045, (800) 825-2111
Colorado Abandoned Property Time Limits
|Property Type ||Presumed Abandoned After |
|Bank account ||five years |
|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 ||no specific provision |
|Gift certificates, gift cards, and credit memos ||Gift certificates and credit memos: five years. |
|Insurance policies ||Life and annuity policies: five years.
The presumed maturity of an insurance policy is two years.
|IRAs or retirement funds ||Public employee retirement funds: five years. |
|Money orders ||seven years |
|Other intangible personal property not otherwise specified ||five years |
|Proceeds from class action suits ||no specific provision |
|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).
|Property held by courts or public agencies ||Tax or grant warrants issued by the state: six months.
Other property: one year.
|Property held by fiduciaries ||three years |
|Safe deposit boxes ||five years |
|Shares in a financial institution ||five years |
|Stocks, dividends, and distributions ||five years |
|Traveler's checks ||15 years |
|Deposits and advances owed utility company customer ||one year |
|Wages or salaries ||one year |