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Unclaimed Property Rules and Time Limits for Louisiana

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 Louisiana.

In Louisiana, all things relating to unclaimed property are handled by the Unclaimed Property Division of the Louisiana Department of the 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).

Louisiana 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 Louisiana property is generally presumed abandoned if it has remained 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 three years to reclaim it before the state sells the property to the highest bidder at a public sale.

Reporting Unclaimed Property in Louisiana

A holder of abandoned property must file a verified annual report before November 1 of each year and cover the twelve months next preceding July 1 of that year. The report includes all of the following information:

  • except with respect to a traveler's check or money order, the name if known, and last known address, if any, and the Social Security number or taxpayer identification number, if readily ascertainable, of the apparent owner of property of the value of $50 or more;
  • an aggregated amount of items valued under $50 each;
  • in the case of unclaimed money amounting to $50 or more held or owing under any annuity or life or endowment insurance policy the full name and last known address of the insured or annuitant and of the beneficiary;
  • in the case of tangible property held in a safe deposit box or other safekeeping depository, a description of the property and the place where it is held and where it may be inspected by the administrator, and any amounts owing to the holder;
  • the date, if any, on which the property became payable, demandable, or returnable, and the date of the last transaction with the apparent owner with respect to the property; and
  • any other information that is deemed necessary.

If a holder of property presumed abandoned is a successor to another person who previously held the property for the apparent owner, or the holder has changed its name while holding the property, the holder will file with the report its former names, if any, and the known names and addresses of all previous holders of the property.

Reports are filed on Form UP-1, Louisiana Report of Unclaimed Property Verification and Checklist, and Form UP-2, Detailed Report of Unclaimed Property. Louisiana also accepts electronic reports in standard National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) format created by the Wagers & Associates Holder Reporting Software (HRS) or any software that generates standard NAUPA format. The files should be saved on a 3.5 diskette or CD and submitted to the Treasury with the unclaimed property and Form UP-1.

Prior notice to owner. The holder of property presumed abandoned must send written notice to the apparent owner not more than 120 days nor less than 60 days before filing the report, stating that the holder is in possession of property if each of the following applies:

  • the holder has in its records an address for the apparent owner that the holder's records do not disclose to be inaccurate;
  • the claim of the apparent owner is not barred by the statute of limitations; and
  • the value of the property is $50 or more.

Delivery. Upon filing the report, the holder of property presumed abandoned shall pay, transfer, or cause to be paid or transferred to the Treasury the property described in the report as unclaimed, but if the property is an automatically renewable deposit, and a penalty or forfeiture in the payment of interest would result, the time for compliance is extended until a penalty or forfeiture would no longer result.

Recordkeeping. A business must generally maintain related records 10 years after the unclaimed property becomes reportable. However, the period is three years for traveler's checks, money orders, and similar financial instruments.

Penalties. a holder who fails to report, pay, or deliver property within the prescribed time must pay interest on the property or value thereof from the date the property should have been reported, paid, or delivered. In addition to the payment of interest, a civil penalty of $200 dollars for each day the report, payment, or delivery is withheld, or the duty is not performed, will be assessed up to a maximum of $5,000.

However, a holder who willfully fails to report, pay, or deliver property within the prescribed time, or willfully fails to perform other duties, will pay to the Treasury, in addition to interest, a civil penalty of $1,000 for each day the report, payment, or delivery is withheld, or the duty is not performed, up to a maximum of $25,000, plus 25 percent of the value of any property that should have been, but was not, reported.

A holder who renders a fraudulent report must pay, in addition to the interest mentioned above, a civil penalty of $1,000 for each day from the date a report was due, up to a maximum $25,000, plus 25 percent of the value of any property that should have been, but was not, reported.

Upon good cause shown the Treasury may waive, in whole or in part, interest and penalties, and will waive penalties if the holder acted in good faith and without negligence.

Claiming Unclaimed Property in Louisiana

In Louisiana, property is generally presumed abandoned if it has remained 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 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. 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. A person (and under certain circumstances a state) claiming an interest in any property paid or delivered as abandoned property may file an Owner Claim Form with the Department of the Treasury. The Treasury must consider the claim within 90 days.

A person dissatisfied with the Treasury's decision or whose claim is not acted upon within 90 days may, within 90 days after the decision or 180 days after filing the claim not acted upon, bring an action to establish the claim in a court of competent jurisdiction in Louisiana.

Louisiana 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 Louisiana, contact the following:

Louisiana Department of the Treasury
Unclaimed Property Division
P.O. Box 91010
Baton Rouge, LA 70821
Phone: (225) 219-9400
Fax: (225) 342-2191
Online inquiries: http://www.treasury.state.la.us/default.aspx
Website: http://www.treasury.state.la.us/default.aspx

Louisiana Abandoned Property Time Limits

Property Type Presumed Abandoned After
Bank account five years
Checks or drafts no specific provision
Demutualization proceeds two years
Gift certificates, gift cards, and credit memos Gift certificates: three years after December 31 of the year the certificate was sold
Customer credit: three years
Insurance policies Life or annuity policies: three years
IRAs or retirement funds IRAs and similar accounts: three years
Money orders seven years
Other intangible personal property not otherwise specified five years
Education savings accounts: five years after the beneficiary reaches age 35
Proceeds from class action suits one year
Property distributable by a business association in the course of dissolution one year
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 three years
Traveler's checks 15 years
Deposits and advances owed utility company customer deposits and refunds: one year
Wages or salaries one year

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