Unclaimed Property must be reported by November 1
Every three years, businesses and organizations are required by law to examine their books for any funds and securities they have not been able to return to their customers within the past five years. This year, Treasurer Lynn Fitch has developed a business-friendly approach to assist holders of unclaimed property in complying with the Mississippi Unclaimed Property Act and make sure that every effort is made to reconnect Mississippians with their unclaimed property.
Millions of dollars go unclaimed each year in Mississippi. “Very often a business has tried to return money to the rightful owners and was unable to do so,” says Treasurer Fitch. “Sometimes a check was not cashed or a business has an incorrect address for the customer, to name a couple of reasons. After five years, if the business has not been able to return the property to the customer then they are required to turn over those funds to the Treasurer’s Office.” Most of the funds and securities are returned by corporations, banks, insurance and utility companies.
“Our goal is to make sure the process is as easy as possible,” Treasurer Fitch explained. “The majority of businesses are glad to report unclaimed dollars as holders and have the Office of the State Treasurer return outstanding balances to the customers.”
Unclaimed property does not include boats, jewelry, cars, real estate, etc. Holders are only required to report intangible properties such as cash, stocks, dividends or customer deposits to the Treasurer’s Office. There is information on the Treasury website on who is required to report unclaimed property and how to file. In addition, the Treasurer’s Office has implemented new rules for handling unclaimed property aimed at adding transparency to the process.
Treasurer Fitch encourages holders and individuals to visit the website and see if the State Treasury has unclaimed property in their names. Since taking office Treasurer Fitch has returned over $36 million to Mississippians. “One in five Mississippians has unclaimed property at the Treasury thanks to businesses who report on a regular basis,” Fitch added. “People should search our website often, because the list is always being updated.”