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Unclaimed Property Rules and Time Limits for Oregon

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 Oregon.

In Oregon, all things relating to unclaimed property are handled by the Unclaimed Property Section of the Oregon Department of State Lands.

  • 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).

Oregon 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 Oregon 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 Oregon

In Oregon, information reports are required of businesses holding property which has reverted to the state by reason of a legally presumed abandonment. The report is made to the Department of State Lands and is due by November 1 for each year ending as of the preceding June 30.

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. A holder must make a reasonable effort to locate the rightful owner of unclaimed property with a value greater than $100 before turning it over to the Department. This should be done not less than 60 days prior to the filing of a report and remittance of the unclaimed property to the state.

If the holder is unsuccessful, it must report the names and last-known addresses of the owners to the Department, which then attempts to locate the owner in various ways.

Delivery. Holders who are required to file information reports must also deliver the property to the Department of State Lands at the same time. The Department may dispose of property without value

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

Penalties. a person who willfully fails to file an information report or deliver unclaimed property to the state may be fined up to a maximum of $1,000 for individuals and $50,000 for corporations

Claiming Unclaimed Property in Oregon

In Oregon, 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. The Department of State Lands is required to publish a notice within the year following a business's filing of an information report listing the unclaimed property accounts reported to the Division. The notice is published for two successive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation.

Unclaimed property held by the state may also be found by searching the state's website (http://www.oregon.gov/dsl/up/index.shtml).

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 may be made at any time to the Department of State Lands on forms designated by that division, which will render a written decision as a public record.

Any person claiming an interest in property delivered to the Department may fill out a claim form (http://www.oregon.gov/dsl/up/index.shtml) after performing a successful online search. The form should be printed and mailed in to the address indicated.

A person dissatisfied with a decision of the Department or a person whose claim has not been acted upon within 90 days after its filing may bring an action in an appropriate court within 60 days after the unfavorable decision or 180 days after the claim was not acted upon.

Oregon 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 Oregon, contact the following:

Department of State Lands
Unclaimed Property Section
775 Summer Street NE, Suite 100
Salem, OR 97301-1270
Phone: (503) 378-3805
Fax: (503) 378-4844
Email: claims@dsl.state.or.us (regarding claims), holder@dsl.state.or.us (regarding reporting)
Website: http://www.oregon.gov/dsl/up/index.shtml

Oregon Abandoned Property Time Limits

Each state has rules that specify the amount of time that must elapse before unclaimed property is considered to be abandoned. The amount of time varies with the type of property. The chart below specifies the time period for various classes of property.

Property Type Presumed Abandoned After
Bank account five years
Checks or drafts five years
Demutualization proceeds no specific provision
Gift certificates, gift cards, and credit memos Credit memos: five years.
Insurance policies Life or annuity policies: five years
The presumed maturity of an insurance policy is two years.
IRAs or retirement funds no specific provision
Money orders seven 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 one year
Property held by courts or public agencies two years
Property held by fiduciaries two years
Safe deposit boxes two years
Shares in a financial institution five years
Stocks, dividends, and distributions five years
Traveler's checks 15 years
Deposits and advances owed utility company customer Deposits, refunds and advances: one year.
Wages or salaries three years

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