Unclaimed Property Rules and Time Limits for South Carolina
Learn the unclaimed property rules and their time limits for the state of South Carolina.
In South Carolina, all things relating to unclaimed property are handled by the Unclaimed Property Program of the South Carolina Office of State 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).
South Carolina 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 South Carolina property is generally presumed abandoned after one to fifteen years of inactivity by the owner. 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 South Carolina
In South Carolina, a holder of abandoned property must report the property held as of June 30 to the Office of the State Treasurer by November 1. The State Treasurer may extend the time to file the report upon written request.
Free reporting software (http://www.wagers.net/) is available for reporting five or more properties.
The report includes the following information:
- if known, the name and last known address of the owner of any property valued at $50 or more except traveler's checks and money orders;
- in the case of insurance corporations with unclaimed funds of $50 or more, the full name of the insured or annuitant and the last known address appearing on the corporation's records;
- a description of the tangible property and the place where it may be inspected;
- a description of the property, including any identifying number, and the amount due, with items valued under $50 reported in the aggregate;
- the date the property became payable, demandable, or returnable;
- the date of the last transaction with the owner with respect to the property;
- all prior names of the holder and the names of all prior holders of the property; and
- any other information required by the State Treasurer.
Prior notice to owner. Within 120 days before filing the report, a holder sends written notice that the property is unclaimed to owners of property valued at $50 or more.
Delivery. Along with the report, the holder delivers the unclaimed funds and intangible property to the State Treasurer. The holder may deliver property before it is presumed abandoned.
The State Treasurer may decline to receive property of little value. The holder will be notified within 120 days after filing the report if the State Treasurer declines the property.
Recordkeeping. A business must generally maintain related records 10 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 holder that fails to file a report and deliver unclaimed property to the state must pay interest on the property's value and is liable for a penalty of $100 per day up to an aggregate of $5,000.
A holder that willfully fails to deliver property to the State Treasurer is liable for a penalty of 25 percent of the value of the property that should have been delivered. If the holder refuses after written demand by the State Treasurer to deliver property, the holder is guilty of a misdemeanor and liable for a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both.
Claiming Unclaimed Property in South Carolina
In South Carolina, property is generally presumed abandoned after one to fifteen years of inactivity by the owner. 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 Treasurer publishes notice of abandoned property valued at $50 or more by March 1 in a newspaper of general circulation and mails notice to the owners.
Unclaimed property held by the state may also be found by searching the state's website (http://www.state.sc.us/treas/cms/uppmm_search_cio.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. Any person claiming an interest in property delivered to the State Treasurer may file a claim for its return. To start the process, fill out a state claim inquiry form available online (http://www.state.sc.us/treas/cms/uppmm_search_cio.htm) after performing a successful search. The Treasurer will contact you with how to proceed from there.
The owner may claim dividends, interest, or other increments realized or accruing on property other than money held by the State Treasurer before liquidation or conversion of the property into money.
The State Treasurer gives a written decision within 90 days after the filing of the claim if the claim is denied. A person dissatisfied with a decision or whose claim has not been acted upon within the 90 days may bring an action in the Court of Common Pleas of Richland County to establish the claim. The action is filed within 90 days of the decision or, if the claim was not acted upon, within 180 days of filing the claim.
South Carolina 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 South Carolina, contact the following:
South Carolina State Treasurer's Office
Unclaimed Property Program
P.O. Box 11778
Columbia, SC 29211
Phone: (803) 737-4771
Fax: (803) 734-2668
South Carolina Abandoned Property Time Limits
|Property Type ||Presumed Abandoned After |
|Bank account ||five years |
|Checks or drafts ||five years |
|Demutualization proceeds ||five years |
|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 ||five years |
|Money orders ||seven years |
|Other intangible personal property not otherwise specified ||Patronage allocations from rural electrical cooperatives: seven years.
Other property: five years.
|Proceeds from class action suits ||no specific provision |
|Property distributable by a business association in the course of dissolution ||six months
|Property held by courts or public agencies ||five years |
|Property held by fiduciaries ||five years |
|Safe deposit boxes ||five years |
|Shares in a financial institution ||five years |
|Stocks, dividends, and distributions ||seven years |
|Traveler's checks ||15 tears |
|Deposits and advances owed utility company customer ||one year
Refunds: five years.
|Wages or salaries ||one year |