Unclaimed Property and Corporate Compliance News

Royalties Are Subject to Unclaimed Property Laws

Whether they are mining or gas royalties or music related royalties, royalty payments to owners that remain uncashed are subject to state unclaimed property laws. Furthermore, uncashed royalty payments must be escheated to the appropriate state and cannot remain with a membership organization, such as the Screen Actors Guild, even if such funds benefit the membership at large. (Screen Actors Guild v. Cory, 91 Cal.App.3d 111 (1979))

Vee Jay Limited Partnership is finding out the hard way as they are subject to a lawsuit filed last week in the Northern District of California. The R&B group known as The Dells have sued for amounts in excess of $75,000 for royalties.

Gift Card Breakage and Your Bottom Line

Christmas and other end of the year holidays are popular times for present giving, and gift cards have become a popular gift for those that don't know exactly what to buy their friends and family. Predictions for 2011 and 2012 put total gift card purchases over $100 billion annually, but a significant portion (estimated $41 billion since 2005) will go unused. Both federal and state laws have done away with dormancy fees and expiration dates on gift cards. As a retailer or issuer of gift cards, how can you take advantage of the unused portion of gift cards taking into consideration the Credit Card Act and other changing state laws.

Patricia Barganier Thorn at Ernst and Young Alumni Partner Meeting

Patricia Barganier Thorn attending the Ernst & Young Alumni Partner meeting in December 2011 at Times Square in New York pictured with Hall of Fame Baseball Players Dave Winfield and Ozzie Smith. Picture included.

California Withdraws Proposed Unclaimed Property Regulations

The California Controller proposed changes to the California administrative regulations relating to Unclaimed Property on December 2, 2011. That proposal has been withdrawn by the Controller, with the following announcement from the Controller's office.

States Closing Budget Gaps with Unclaimed Property

Although unclaimed property is not a tax under state statutes, the states treat the money collected much the same way as they do taxes. States will keep a small amount of money available to pay out any claims that individuals or companies make and transfer the rest of the collections to the general fund or a special fund. With income tax revenues down, the states are looking to other sources of cash flow, such as unclaimed property.

Legislative Action Beginning

Many states are about to ramp up their 2012 legislative sessions, and many are bound to address unclaimed property this year. Already on the table is Delaware's HB 229 which would clarify the statute of limitations for enforcement actions. Georgia is now allowing prefiling of bills (AJC) for the 2012 session that begins on January 9, 2012.

Effort Underway in Kenya to Enact Unclaimed Property Laws

Does your company have operations, assets, suppliers or vendors in Kenya? An effort is currently underway in Kenya to enact an unclaimed property scheme similar to the programs that U.S. states operate today. The terminology in the bill should be familiar to professionals in this area: holders, owners, last apparent address.

Illinois Updates Dormancy Period for Wages

On Monday, Illinois governor Pay Quinn signed HB 1560 into law, reducing the dormancy period from five years to one year. The change is effective immediately. This brings Illinois in line with the majority of states requiring payroll to be reported after one year.

PDF: Full Text of HB 1560

New Rules for Texas Reporting

Texas Governor Rick Perry signed HB 257 into law today. HB 257 has several important changes for unclaimed property compliance programs, including dormancy periods, due diligence deadlines and reporting and remittance deadlines.

Unredeemed money orders are now reportable 3 years after issuance, while dormant bank accounts are reportable 3 years of inactivity. These changes are effective immediately.

Costco Files Lawsuit Against Washington State

Barganier and Associates is constantly monitoring both legislation and litigation involving unclaimed property and other topics that may affect clients’ compliance positions. In that effort, we have identified a lawsuit in the State of Washington that may be of interest to you. Costco Wholesale Corporation v. Washington State Department of Revenue and Suzan Delbene, CAFN 11-2-08830-8, was filed in King County Superior Court, Seattle, Washington, on March 4, 2011.