Seasoned unclaimed property reporting veterans understanding the importance of beginning the fall reporting season on the right foot. With nearly two-thirds of all jurisdictions having fall escheat reporting deadlines, it’s imperative for organizations with reporting obligations in these states to begin the process well in advance of the October 31st / November 1st deadline. A well planned unclaimed property reporting process, if executed effectively and efficiently, can position your company for success and make the often cumbersome season less of a burden.
Below are three key segments of an effective unclaimed property reporting plan.
The preliminary analysis stage is, by far, one of the most important and complex stages of unclaimed property reporting and should already be underway for most organizations preparing to submit reports for the fall. During this stage, data collection and liability analyses are conducted to determine which accounts are past due, currently due, and will be coming due in future escheat cycles. Assembling this data – and identifying the subsequent remittance to the appropriate jurisdictions – allows your organization to classify potential unclaimed property liabilities and better prepare for the future by conducting proactive communication and outreach programs.
Nearly all reporting jurisdictions mandate holders of unclaimed property to provide notice, in the form of a due diligence letter, to the owners of at-risk accounts prior to escheatment. Each jurisdiction has its own set of due diligence requirements that outlines how notifications are to be sent, when they must be sent, how they must be formatted, and how owners can reaffirm their interest.
The principles of due diligence can also be viewed as an opportunity to reduce escheatment liabilities in both the current and future reporting cycles. By deploying a robust owner location outreach program early in the reporting cycle, you stand a better chance of locating the owner and reuniting them with their assets. In turn, your organization reduces the amount of property remitted and enables you to save money on both returned mail and servicing inactive accounts and property.
Now that you have confidently and competently completed the preliminary analysis stage to identify dormant properties, and conducted a good-faith effort to locate the owners via due diligence mailings, you’re now on your way to generating final reports. With 55 unique sets of rules and more than 100 different types of unclaimed property, it can be a difficult process to manage the execution of final reports to those respective states. Some states allow for electronic uploads while others require hard copies or CDs. Notarization or an executive signature is required in some states. Knowing the mechanical requirements for all applicable jurisdictions is a crucial aspect to completing the final reports. Consequently, final reports filed incorrectly may result in costly fines, penalties, and interest assessments.
The fall escheat reporting process, even with the most well thought out plans, can be a cumbersome task for organizations to handle internally. That’s where Keane’s outsourced escheat reporting services become invaluable in helping your organization manage its unclaimed property reporting compliance. At Keane, unclaimed property reporting as all we do. We have the systems, processes, and technology in place to identify and quantify dormant accounts and liabilities, conduct the required mailings, and most importantly, save your organization time and money when it comes time to filing unclaimed property reports. While the clock is already ticking on the fall reporting deadline, there’s still time to act. If you could use a helping hand this season, reach out to Keane for an initial consultation.