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Unclaimed Property Rules and Time Limits for Rhode Island

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 Rhode Island.

In Rhode Island, all things relating to unclaimed property are handled by the Unclaimed Property Division of the Rhode Island Office of the General Treasurer.

  • 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).

Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island property is generally presumed abandoned if it has remained unclaimed by the owner for more than three years after it becomes 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 Rhode Island

In Rhode Island, a holder of abandoned property must file a verified annual report, Forms UP-1 and UP-2.

In tools section) to the Office of the General Treasurer containing prescribed information concerning the property. The report is due on or before November 1, as of June 30. The filing date may be postponed upon written request.

The General Treasurer may require any person who has not filed a report to submit a verified report stating whether he is holding reportable unclaimed property.

Prior notice to owner. Not more than 120 days before filing the report, the holder of abandoned property valued at $50 or more must send written notice to the apparent owner at his last known address.

Additionally, if an insurance company learns of the death of the insured or annuitant and the beneficiary has not communicated with the insurer within four months after the death, the company must take reasonable steps to pay the proceeds to the beneficiary.

Delivery. The holder of abandoned property pays or delivers the property to the General Treasurer at the time of filing the annual report. However, a holder may also pay or deliver property before it is presumed abandoned, with the Treasurer's written consent.

The General Treasurer may decline to receive property of insubstantial value.

Recordkeeping. A business must generally maintain related records seven 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 person who willfully fails to render any report or perform other required duties is liable for a civil penalty of not less than $100 nor more than $500 for each day of violation, up to a maximum of $10,000. The penalty for willfully failing to pay or deliver property on time is a fine equal to 25 percent of the value of the property. a person who willfully refuses to pay or deliver property to the General Treasurer after written demand is guilty of a misdemeanor.

A person who fails to pay or deliver property on time is also liable for interest (at an indexed rate) from the date the property should have been delivered.

A holder of property who fails to comply with the 120-day notice requirement is subject to a penalty of $10 for each account for which notice was not given.

If an examination of a business association discloses unreported property, the violator may be assessed the cost of examination at the rate of $100 per examiner per day.

Claiming Unclaimed Property in Rhode Island

In Rhode Island, property is generally presumed abandoned if it has remained unclaimed by the owner for more than three years after it becomes 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.treasury.ri.gov/divisions/unclaimedproperty/).

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, excluding another state, claiming an interest in any property paid or delivered as abandoned property may file a claim with the Rhode Island Office of the General Treasurer, who must consider and decide on such claim within 90 days after it is filed. The procedure is essentially the same where the claimant is another state, except that the claim will be allowed only in those circumstances where the other state has some basis for claiming a custodial relationship with the property as enumerated in the statute.

Any person claiming an interest in property delivered to the General Treasurer may begin the process by performing an online search (http://www.treasury.ri.gov/divisions/unclaimedproperty/). If you find your name on the list, you can click on your name and update your contact information. Once updated, the Treasurer's office will contact you via mail with instructions on how to proceed with claiming your property.

A person dissatisfied with a decision of the General Treasurer or whose claim was not acted upon within 90 days after the filing date may bring an action to establish the claim in the superior court within 90 days after the Treasurer's decision or, if he or she failed to act, within 180 days after the filing of the claim.

Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island, contact the following:

Rhode Island Office of the General Treasurer
Unclaimed Property Division
P.O. Box 1435
Providence, RI 02901-1435
Phone: (401) 222-6505
Fax: (401)274-3865
Website: http://www.treasury.ri.gov/divisions/unclaimedproperty/

Rhode Island Abandoned Property Time Limits

Property Type Presumed Abandoned After
Bank account Demand and savings deposits: three years.
Time deposits: six years.
Checks or drafts three years
Demutualization proceeds two years
Gift certificates, gift cards, and credit memos Gift certificates and credit memos: three years.
Insurance policies Life or annuity policies: three years.
The presumed maturity of an insurance policy is two years.
IRAs or retirement funds no specific provision
Money orders five years
Other intangible personal property not otherwise specified three years
Includes property held by hospitals, nonprofits and charities, as well as property originated or issued by an entity in the state.
Proceeds from class action suits six months
Property distributable by a business association in the course of dissolution six months
Property held by courts or public agencies one year
Property held by police departments: six months.
Property held by fiduciaries three years
Family education accounts: 20 years.
Safe deposit boxes three years
Shares in a financial institution three years
Stocks, dividends, and distributions five years
Traveler's checks 15 years
Deposits and advances owed utility company customer one year
Wages or salaries one year

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