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Unclaimed Property Rules and Time Limits for Illinois

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 Illinois.

In Illinois, all things relating to unclaimed property are handled by the Unclaimed Property Division of the Illinois State Treasurer.

  • 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).

Illinois 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 Illinois property is generally presumed abandoned after five years of inactivity by the presumed owner. 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 Illinois

The holder of property that is presumed to be abandoned reports all of the property to the Illinois State Treasurer. The report includes the following information:

  • the name, social security or tax identification number, and last known address of the owner of any property valued at $25 or more;
  • the full name of the insured and any beneficiary or annuitant and their last known address, in the case of unclaimed funds of life insurance corporations;
  • the date when the property became payable, demandable, or returnable, and the date of the last transaction with the owner with respect to the property; and
  • any other information the State Treasurer prescribes.

The reports are due before November 1 from banking organizations, financial organizations, insurance corporations other than life insurance companies, and governmental entities. The reports are due before May 1 from business associations, utilities, and life insurance corporations.

The State Treasurer may grant an extension of time to any holder to report or remit abandoned property when the holder submits a written request for an extension before the date a report or remittance is due.

Prior notice to owner. Before reporting the property to the State Treasurer, the holder communicates with the owner at the last known address regarding how to prevent abandonment from being presumed.

Delivery. The holder remits any property presumed abandoned to the State Treasurer along with the report.

The State Treasurer may refuse to receive abandoned property with a value less than the cost of giving notice and holding a sale. Unless the holder of property is notified otherwise within 120 days of filing a report, the State Treasurer is deemed to have elected to receive the property.

Recordkeeping. A business must generally maintain related records five years after the unclaimed property becomes reportable. Records pertaining to property held by a trust division, department, or company must be retained until the property is delivered to the State Treasurer.

Penalties. a person who fails to report abandoned property or perform other required duties is guilty of a business offense and fined up to $500. Each day the report is withheld or the duties are not performed is a separate offense.

In addition, the State Treasurer may charge a holder that files an unclaimed property report after the due date the lesser of $100 or $1 for each day the report remains overdue. The State Treasurer may also charge a holder that fails to timely perform due diligence $5 for each name and address account reported if 35 percent or more of the accounts are claimed within the 24 months immediately following the filing of the holder's annual report.

If a person refuses to deliver abandoned property to the State Treasurer, the State Treasurer may bring an action in the circuit court or any federal court to enforce delivery. A person who fails to report abandoned property is guilty of a business offense and subject to a $500 fine. A person who willfully refuses to deliver abandoned property to the State Treasurer is guilty of a Class B misdemeanor.

If a holder fails to remit or untimely remits abandoned property, the State Treasurer may charge the holder based on the value of the property the greater of one percent per month or an annualized rate that is three percent above the prime rate published in the Wall Street Journal on the first business day of the month in which the property was remitted.

Claiming Unclaimed Property in Illinois

In Illinois, property is generally presumed abandoned after five years of inactivity by the presumed owner. 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. Unfortunately, the Treasurer's Office auctions unclaimed items like jewelry, coins, stamps, and other collectibles on eBay, holding the proceeds for the rightful owner.

Locating abandoned property held by the state. In Illinois, unclaimed property held by the state may be found by searching the state's website.

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. Any person claiming an interest in property delivered to the state may file a claim to the property or to the proceeds from the sale of the property on the form prescribed by the State Treasurer. The State Treasurer will consider the claim and may hold a hearing and receive evidence concerning it. A final decision of the State Treasurer is subject to judicial review under the Administrative Review Law.

Illinois 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 Illinois, contact the following:

Illinois Office of State Treasurer
Unclaimed Property Division
P.O. Box 19495
Springfield, IL 62794-9495
Phone: (217) 785-6992 (inquiries); (217) 782-6692 (claims); (217) 524-0023 (reporting)
Fax: (217) 557-5871

Illinois Abandoned Property Time Limits

Property Type Presumed Abandoned After
Bank account Demand, savings, and time deposit accounts, and other accounts specifying a definite maturity date: five years
For a ward of the state: five years after the beneficiary reaches legal age
Checks or drafts five years
Demutualization proceeds two years
Gift certificates, gift cards, and credit memos gift certificates and cards with an expiration date or that are subject to a post-sale charge or fee: five years
Insurance policies Life or annuity policies: five years
The presumed maturity of an insurance policy is two years.
IRAs or retirement funds IRAs: five years
Money orders five years
Other intangible personal property not otherwise specified cooperative patronage funds: two years
Other property: five years
Proceeds from class action suits no specific provision
Property distributable by a business association in the course of dissolution two years
Property held by courts or public agencies seven years
Property held by fiduciaries five years
Safe deposit boxes five years
Shares in a financial institution five years
Stocks, dividends, and distributions two years
Traveler's checks 15 years
Deposits and advances owed utility company customer deposits, refunds, and advances: five years
Wages or salaries no specific provision

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