Finance for Small Businesses
Learn more about the resources available for Finance.
Filed under Finance.
Learn the unclaimed property rules and their time limits for the state of Arizona.
In Wisconsin, all things relating to unclaimed property are handled by the Unclaimed Property Division of the Office of the State Treasurer.
Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin 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.
In Wisconsin, information reports are required of businesses holding property which has reverted to the state by reason of a presumption of abandonment. The report is made to the Office of the State Treasurer and is due November 1 of each year, covering the previous calendar year. 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 send a written notice to the apparent owner at the owner's last known address within 120 days before filing report for property valued at $50 or more.
Delivery. Persons who have filed information reports are required to deliver the property to the State Treasurer upon filing the report, which is due November 1 of each year. The State Treasurer may decline to accept property or may dispose of property without value.
Recordkeeping. A business must generally maintain related records five years after the unclaimed property is reported. However, the period is three years for traveler's checks, money orders, and similar financial instruments.
Penalties. a person who willfully fails to file an abandoned property information report may be fined $100 per day, up to a maximum of $5,000.
Interest is charged at the annual rate of 18 percent for failure to deliver property. If the failure is willful, the holder is subject to a penalty equal to 25 percent of the value of the property. A holder who refuses to deliver after written demand may be fined from $100 to $5,000.
In Wisconsin, 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 (http://www.statetreasury.wisconsin.gov/ucpweb/ucpsearch.aspx).
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 Wisconsin Office of the State Treasurer, which will consider the claim within 90 days and notify the claimant in writing of their finding.
To start the recovery process, fill out a state claim form available online (http://www.statetreasury.wisconsin.gov/ucpweb/ucpsearch.aspx) after performing a successful search. After finding a claim that belongs to you, fill in your mailing information on the online claim form and click the Submit button. The Treasurer will send you a claim form within 10 business days that contains information on how to proceed with your claim.
A person dissatisfied with a decision of the Treasurer or a person whose claim has not been acted upon within 90 days after its filing may bring an action in the circuit court within 90 days after the unfavorable decision or 180 days after the claim not acted upon.
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 Wisconsin, contact the following:
Wisconsin Office of the State Treasurer
Unclaimed Property Division
P.O. Box 2114
Madison, WI 53701-2114
Phone: (608) 267-7977 (general inquiries), (877) 699-9211 (claim form requests)
Fax: (608) 261-6799
|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||no specific provision|
|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
|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||three years|
|Traveler's checks||15 years|
|Deposits and advances owed utility company customer||Deposits, refunds, and advances: one year.|
|Wages or salaries||one year|