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Unclaimed Property Rules and Time Limits for Virginia

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 Virginia.

In Virginia, all things relating to unclaimed property are handled by the Unclaimed Property Division of the Virginia 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).

Virginia 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 Virginia property is generally presumed abandoned if it has remained unclaimed by the owner for more than five 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 Virginia

In Virginia, information reports are required of persons holding property which has reverted to the Commonwealth by reason of a presumption of abandonment. The report is made to the State Treasurer and is due before November 1 for each year ending as of the preceding June 30. Insurance companies file by May 1 of each year ending as of the preceding December 31.

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.

Reports containing 25 or more items must be remitted in an electronic format unless the Treasurer determines that the requirement would create an undue hardship. In order to use Virginia's electronic reporting system, you must: e-mail. the Treasurer with your name, your company's name and its Federal Identification Number to register. Once your registration information has been verified, a username and password will be e-mailed back to you. After logging in for the first time, you will be required to update your company and contact information. You will then be allowed to transfer your report directly from your computer to the Treasurer's database.

Prior notice to owner. A holder :is generally required to exercise due diligence prior to the submission of the unclaimed property report when the property has a value of $100 or more. To fulfill this requirement, a holder must send a first-class mailing to the owner's last known address informing them of the dormant status of the property.

Delivery. Property reported as unclaimed is delivered to the State Treasurer at the same time as the report is filed.

Recordkeeping. A business must generally maintain related records five years after the unclaimed property is reported. However, where no report is filed, the time period is 10 years after the property becomes reportable. Also, the period is three years for traveler's checks, money orders, and similar financial instruments.

Penalties. a holder is required to pay interest and a civil penalty up to $1,000 for each day the report and remittance is withheld up to a maximum of the lesser of $50,000 or 100 percent of the value of the property which should have been paid or delivered and shall be required to pay interest at the same annual rate as is applicable to delinquent taxes.

Claiming Unclaimed Property in Virginia

In Virginia, property is generally presumed abandoned if it has remained unclaimed by the owner for more than five 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 (https://www.trs.virginia.gov/vaMoneySearch/Account/LogOn).

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 are made to the Virginia State Treasurer. The Treasurer's office will notify the claimant in writing of the outcome of their claim.

To start the recovery process, fill out a state claim inquiry form available online (https://www.trs.virginia.gov/vaMoneySearch/Account/LogOn) after performing a successful search. You can also skip the property search and go directly to the Unclaimed Property Inquiry Form (https://www.trs.virginia.gov/vaMoneySearch/Account/LogOn). The Treasurer will contact you with how to proceed from there.

The Treasurer is authorized to deduct costs of notices, sales, and other related expenses incurred in the administration of unclaimed property, while in the Treasurer's custody, when paying a claim to the rightful owner.

A person dissatisfied with a decision of the Treasurer may bring an action to establish the claim within 90 days in the circuit or corporation court of the county or city in which the property is located.

Virginia 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 Virginia, contact the following:

Virginia Department of Treasury
Division of Unclaimed Property
P.O. Box 2478
Richmond, VA 23218-2478
Phone: (800) 468-1088
E-mail: ucpmail@trs.virginia.gov
Website: https://www.trs.virginia.gov/vaMoneySearch/Account/LogOn

Virginia 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 Gift certificates and credit balances: five years.
However, the following are not considered to be unclaimed property:
  • credit balances payable to a business association;
  • outstanding checks from the sale of goods or services to a business association;
  • promotional incentives; and
  • credits, gift certificates, coupons, lay-a-ways, and similar items redeemable in merchandise, services, or through future purchases.
Insurance policies Life or annuity policies: five years.
The presumed maturity of an insurance policy is two years.
IRAs or retirement funds Employee benefit trust distributions: 10 years.
Money orders seven years
Other intangible personal property not otherwise specified five years
Proceeds from class action suits no specific provision
Property distributable by a business association in the course of dissolution one year
Includes refunds.
Property held by courts or public agencies one year
Property held by fiduciaries five years
Safe deposit boxes five 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 one year
Wages or salaries one year

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