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Unclaimed Property Rules and Time Limits for New York

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 York.

In New York, all things relating to unclaimed property are handled by the New York State Comptroller.

  • 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 York 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 York property is generally presumed abandoned if there has been no activity in the account for a set period of time, usually between two and five 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 New York

In New York, information reports are required of persons holding property which has escheated to the state by reason of a presumption of abandonment. The report is made to the New York State Comptroller on forms prescribed by that officer by August 1, reporting abandoned property held as of June 30 in the case of financial organizations and held as of July 1 by utilities. Corporations holding unclaimed condemnation awards report by August 1 describing abandoned property held as of July 1.

Security holders and brokers furnish reports at the same time that abandoned property is delivered to the State Comptroller by March 10 each year for property held as of December 31 of the preceding year. Similarly, court funds are accompanied by a report when delivered to the State Comptroller by April 10 for property held as of January 1. Insurance proceeds are reported and delivered by life insurance companies by April 1 for property held as of January 1. The Superintendent of Insurance files by October 1 a report and delivers the property held by that officer as of July 1.

Prior notice to owner. At least 90 days prior to the applicable reporting date for the unclaimed property, the holder must send a written notice by first class mail to each person appearing to be the owner of property listed in an abandoned property report. However, these requirements do not apply if the holder does not have an address for the owner or can demonstrate that the only address that the holder has pertaining to the owner is not the owner's current address.

With respect to property whose value exceeds $1,000, the holder is required to send a second written notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, at least 60 days prior to the applicable reporting date. Such notice is not required if the holder has received a claim from the owner of the property or the original mailing was returned as undeliverable.

Financial organizations, utilities, insurance companies, and corporations holding abandoned condemnation awards are required to publish the names of the owners of unclaimed property within 30 days of the report to the State Comptroller. County treasurers or, in the case of the City of New York, the Commissioner of Finance are similarly required to publish the names of persons believed to be the owners of abandoned court funds by February 1 of each year.

Delivery. Most unclaimed property is delivered to the State Comptroller at the same time that the information report is filed. In addition, financial organizations are required to deliver by November 10 property abandoned as of June 30. Also, utilities deliver by October 10 property deemed abandoned as of July 1. Corporations deliver unclaimed condemnation awards by February 10 for abandoned property held as of the preceding July 1.

Recordkeeping. A business must generally maintain related records five years after the unclaimed property is reported. However, the period for dealers and brokers is 10 years following the end of the year in which records were created.

Penalties. If you fail to file full and complete reports or affidavits the statute requires in the manner the Comptroller prescribes, you may be subject to a fine of $100 for each day such report or affidavit is willfully delayed or withheld.

If you are late delivering abandoned property, the Comptroller can charge you late filing interest. Interest is 10 percent per year from the date payment or delivery was due to the date you make payment or delivery. Interest on securities is based on the closing price of the securities, as of the tenth day of the month in which delivery was due.

Claiming Unclaimed Property in New York

In New York, property is generally presumed abandoned if there has been no activity in the account for a set period of time, usually between two and five 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. Unclaimed property held by the state may be found by searching the state's website (http://osc.state.ny.us/ouf/index.htm).

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 sums escheated to the state are submitted to the New York State Comptroller, who has full authority to determine such claims. No time limit is specified in the law. Any person claiming an interest in property delivered to the Comptroller may fill out and mail an online claim form provided after performing a successful online search. A notice of the Comptroller's finding is sent to the claimant.

Within four months of receiving a notice, claimants may apply to the State Comptroller for redetermination of a denied claim. If the Comptroller's decision remains unfavorable, the claim may be submitted within four months for review by the Supreme Court, Albany County. Ten days' notice to the Comptroller is required

New York 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 York, contact the following:

New York State Office of the State Comptroller
Office of Unclaimed Funds
110 State Street, 8th Floor
Albany, NY 12236
Phone: 1-800-221-9311 (within New York State), (518) 270-2200 (outside New York State)
Fax: (518) 473-2177
E-mail: NYSOUF@osc.state.ny.us
Website: http://wwe1.osc.state.ny.us/ouf/index.htm

New York Abandoned Property Time Limits

Property Type Presumed Abandoned After
Bank account Demand, savings, time, and other deposit accounts: five years
Checks or drafts five years
Includes vendor checks
Demutualization proceeds two years
Gift certificates, gift cards, and credit memos Gift certificates: five years
Insurance policies Life or annuity policies: three years
The presumed maturity of an insurance policy is three years.
IRAs or retirement funds no specific provision
Money orders Money orders issued by banks: five years
All other money orders: seven years.
Other intangible personal property not otherwise specified excess from a sale of pledged property: six years (one year if from a pawn broker)
funds held by sales or insurance finance companies: three years
Other property: two years
Proceeds from class action suits no specific provision
Property distributable by a business association in the course of dissolution no specific provisions
Property held by courts or public agencies Property held by state courts or condemnation awards: five years
Property held by federal courts: 10 years
Property held by federal government agencies: seven years.
Property held by fiduciaries escrow funds held by a title company: three years
Other escrow funds: five years
Other property held by fiduciaries: three years
Safe deposit boxes three years
Shares in a financial institution no specific provision
Stocks, dividends, and distributions three years
Traveler's checks Traveler's checks issued by a bank: five years
Other traveler's checks: 15 years.
Deposits and advances owed utility company customer deposits, refunds, and advances: two years
Wages or salaries Wages or salaries held by the NYS Department of Labor: one year
Other wages or salaries: three years

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