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Unclaimed Property Rules and Time Limits for Maryland

Filed under Basic Accounting. Fact checked on May 24, 2012.

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

  • 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).

Maryland 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 Maryland property is generally presumed abandoned if it remains unclaimed by the owner for three years. 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 Maryland

Information reports are required of persons holding property (e.g., banks, insurance companies) which has reverted to the state by reason of a presumption of abandonment. The report is made to the State Comptroller and is due before November 1 for each year ending as of the preceding June 30. Insurance companies file before 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.

Prior notice to owner. Any holder of presumed abandoned property is required to send written notice to the apparent owner of presumed abandoned property valued at $100 or more between 30 and 120 days before filing the required report to the Comptroller, informing the owner that the holder is in possession of the property and that the property will be considered abandoned unless the owner responds to the holder within 30 days after the notification.

Delivery. a holder of unclaimed property must remit the unclaimed property to the State Comptroller at the same time the holder files a report. The Comptroller may decline to accept 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. a person who willfully fails to file the information report may be fined $100 per day, up to a maximum of $5,000. A penalty of 15 percent of the value of the property is imposed for failure to deliver abandoned property to the state. Additional fines may be levied for willful failure to deliver property.

Claiming Unclaimed Property in Maryland

In Maryland, property is generally presumed abandoned if it remains unclaimed by the owner for three years. 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.

Locating abandoned property held by the state. The State Comptroller is required to publish a notice within 360 days of the business holder's filing of the information report for each year listing the unclaimed property reported to the Comptroller and the alphabetized names of the apparent owners together with their last known address. The notice is published for two successive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation and is also sent to each apparent owner individually within 120 days of the receipt of the information report.

Unclaimed property held by the state may also 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. Claims for recovery of abandoned property are made to the State Comptroller. After searching for your name online, you can print claim form ST-912 for your use. When completing the form, be sure to indicate the claim number that appears with the account, include copies of any documentation, and submit the entire package to the Comptroller's Office at the address indicated on the form.

A person dissatisfied with the decision of the Comptroller or whose claim the Comptroller has failed to act may bring an action to establish the claim within 90 days of the decision, or 180 days of the filing of the claim in the event of nonaction, in the circuit court of the county.

Maryland 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 Maryland, contact the following:

Controller of Maryland
Unclaimed Property Unit
301 W. Preston Street, Room 310
Baltimore, MD 21201-2383
Phone: (410) 767-1700 (from the Baltimore area), (800) 782-7383 (from elsewhere in Maryland)
Fax: (410) 333-7150
E-mail: unclaim@comp.state.md.us
Website: https://interactive.marylandtaxes.com/Individuals/Unclaim/default.aspx

Maryland Abandoned Property Time Limits

Property Type Presumed Abandoned After
Bank account three years
Checks or drafts three years
Demutualization proceeds no specific provision
Gift certificates, gift cards, and credit memos no specific provision
Insurance policies life, annuity, fire, casualty, and surety insurance policies: three years
IRAs or retirement funds no specific provisions
Money orders three years
Other intangible personal property not otherwise specified three years
Proceeds from class action suits no specific provision
Property distributable by a business association in the course of dissolution 60 days
Property held by Maryland courts or public agencies three years
Property held by fiduciaries three years
Safe deposit boxes three years
Shares in a financial institution three years
Stocks, dividends, and distributions three years
Traveler's checks 15 years
Deposits and advances owed utility company customer deposits, refunds, and advances: three years
Wages or salaries three years

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