1 - I received a letter from a state indicating we need to file unclaimed property. What do I do?
If your company received a letter from a state requesting that it file an unclaimed property report and it has not previously filed a report in that state in the past, it is now a good time to take stock of all unclaimed property liabilities that may be due to all states. Your company may also be receiving a notice from a state that requires a negative or zero report and your company has had previous history filing in that state.
2 - Why do I have to turn this seemingly unwanted money over to a state?
The laws were put in place to prevent 'unjust enrichment' on the part of the holders, and to protect the property rights of the true owners. In theory, and mostly in practice, the states serve as custodians for these funds until the rightful owner comes forward to claim it.
3 - Why isn't there more uniformity across the various states with respect to guidelines and laws?
Although several attempts have been made to promote uniformity through the announcement of the Uniform Unclaimed Property Acts, the states are free to choose how to craft their respective statutes. Many states utilize one of the Uniform Acts as the basis for their own statutory framework, but exceptions remain.
4 - I have what I believe is a novel issue related to our operations. Should I call the state?
Most state Administrators and staff are very helpful when it comes to assisting holders with their specific questions. However, if your issue is particularly sensitive it may make more sense to vet possible solutions (or additional queries) with counsel or trusted advisors. Oftentimes, the benefit of experience and specific expertise can provide a perspective and potential benefits that weren't previously considered.
5 - Why and how can we pursue a voluntary disclosure agreement (VDA) with a state?
This decision will depend on what state your company wishes to pursue a VDA, how old the property being reported is and how much is being reported. These aren't the only factors, but the most important ones. A VDA is a more formal voluntary process of filing unclaimed property to a state where there has been no prior reporting history. States offering these programs often require that your company is not currently under audit with that state. Not all states have VDA programs. Those with programs offer benefits to holders such as penalty and interest abatements or waivers and agreements with states not to audit for the period the property is being reported. Please discuss this process with a service professional before making a decision.
6 - How or why did my company get selected for an audit?
There could be many reasons for this. Some states consistently compare their business licensing databases with an unclaimed property compliance database; appearing on the former and not the latter may present an ideal audit candidate. Third party audit firms are fiscally motivated to generate and complete audits for their contract audit states, and will generally select the most attractive audit candidates to maximize their return on investment. We could go on - but the more important issue is determining how to handle the audit once your company has been notified.
7 - How do I find out if my organization has recoverable assets?
There are many factors that can contribute to the likelihood that unclaimed assets are available for your company to claim. This is why JMS will provide a complementary analysis showing you the approximate dollar amount owed to your company and its subs / affiliates. Contact us today to request your preliminary asset recovery report, once our analysis is complete we will present the results and help you understand what next steps to take.
8 - What are the benefits of hiring a "boutique" firm for unclaimed property help?
JMS Advisory Group offers practical, cost-effective solutions. Our expertise has been formulated in the trenches with our clients, and with the strong foundation of international accounting firm experience. Perhaps more importantly, unclaimed property is all we do. We don't dabble, nor will we ask a junior staffer to research the law so we can sound like we know what we're talking about - we get to the point with the expertise you need, and we are prepared to help you. Call us - you'll soon experience another of our other many benefits - accessibility.
9 - Why did I receive a letter from "mail management" saying that I have money owed to me and what do I do?
JMS Advisory Group, LLC manages unclaimed property reporting responsibilities on behalf of all our clients and these letters are part of that process. If you received a letter, please see the following link which will help you understand why a letter was sent to you and how to claim your money: View Letter