Add New York to the list of states that are actively seeking companies that have not filed unclaimed property reports. Letters have recently gone out to several businesses that have not filed unclaimed property reports in New York, informing the company of their filing requirements. The letter also informs companies of an opportunity to file under the Voluntary Compliance Program, which would waive penalties and interest if filed within six months of the date oft he letter.
Under the Voluntary Compliance Program, the reach back period, or the period for which companies must review their records to determine if any unclaimed property exists, goes all the way to January 1, 1992, for items such as payroll checks, vendor payments, accounts receivable credits, and gift certificates. For items such as shares of stock, the reach back period may reach back even further. Special rules apply if a company does not have records that extend for the full reach back period.
Companies that are under audit are not eligible for the Program. Companies that have previously filed may be eligible under certain circumstances. Companies that have never filed, nor are they under an unclaimed property audit by the state of New York, are eligible for the Voluntary Compliance Program.
In order to file a voluntary compliance report, a company will need to do an extensive review of their records. There are special reporting rules, to determine where, when, and how unclaimed and abandoned property should be reported to that states. If a review shows that you have property with addresses in multiple states or with no addresses at all, your company may be required to report in many jurisdictions.
New York's unclaimed property program is administered by the Office of the State Comptroller. The Office of Unclaimed Funds currently holds in excess of $11 billion, in 26 million accounts, of unclaimed property for citizens of the state. In the time period between April 2010 and March 2011, New York received $701 million dollars from reporting companies, while paying out only $296 million to claimants.