Unclaimed Property Rules and Time Limits for New Jersey

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 New Jersey.

In New Jersey, all things relating to unclaimed property are handled by the unclaimed property section of the New Jersey 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).

New Jersey 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 New Jersey property is generally presumed abandoned if it has remained unclaimed by the owner for more than three 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 it from the state.

Reporting Unclaimed Property in New Jersey

In New Jersey, a holder of abandoned property must file a verified annual report containing such information concerning the property as is required by the New Jersey Department of the Treasury. Companies other than life insurance companies file the report by November 1 as of the preceding June 30th. Life insurance companies file the report by May 1 as of the preceding December 31.

The due date for filing a report may be extended by the Treasurer on written request.

Prior notice to owner. Not more than 120 days or less than 60 days prior to the due date of the annual report, a holder of abandoned property must send written notice to the apparent owner at the last known address informing the owner that the holder is in possession of the property.

Delivery. At the same time as the final date for filing the report, the abandoned property is delivered to the Treasurer, unless the owner in the meantime has established its rights to the property.

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. Failure to deliver property is subject to a penalty of interest at the rate of 10 percent above the annual treasury bill discount rate on the value of the property. The penalty for failing to render a report or perform other required duties is $200 per day of violation, in addition to interest.

A holder who makes a fraudulent report must pay, in addition to interest, a civil penalty of $1,000 for each day the report is withheld up to a maximum of $250,000, plus 25 percent of the value of any property that should have been but was not reported.

Claiming Unclaimed Property in New Jersey

In New Jersey, property is generally presumed abandoned if it has remained unclaimed by the owner for more than three 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 it from the state.

Locating abandoned property held by the state. Unclaimed property held by the state may be found by searching the state's website (http://www.unclaimedproperty.nj.gov/).

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 New Jersey Department of the Treasury may file a claim online (http://www.unclaimedproperty.nj.gov/) after performing a successful online search. The Treasurer must consider the claim within 120 days and provide notice of its decision to the claimant.

A person dissatisfied with a decision of the Treasurer may bring an action to establish the claim in the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey.

New Jersey 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 New Jersey, contact the following:

New Jersey Department of the Treasury
Unclaimed Property
P.O. Box 214
Trenton, NJ 08695-0214
Phone: (609) 984-5214
Fax: (609) 984-0593
Website: http://www.unclaimedproperty.nj.gov/

New Jersey Abandoned Property Time Limits

Property Type Presumed Abandoned After
Bank account three years
Checks or drafts three years
Demutualization proceeds three years
Stored value cards (includes, but is not limited to, paper gift certificates, gift cards and rebate cards) credit memos: two years
Insurance policies Life or annuity policies: three years.
The presumed maturity of an insurance policy is two years.
IRAs or retirement funds IRAs and defined benefit plan funds: three years
Non-traditional retirement accounts: three years after the second mailing to the owner has been returned undeliverable
Money orders three years
Other intangible personal property not otherwise specified three years
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 property held by a New Jersey court or county: 10 years
property held by other courts or public agencies: one year
Property held by fiduciaries three years
Safe deposit boxes five years
Shares in a financial institution three years
Stocks, dividends, and distributions three years
Traveler's checks three years
Deposits and advances owed utility company customer one year
Wages or salaries one year

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