Unclaimed Property Update

Businesses in West Virginia are subject to the unclaimed property laws and are required to file annually if they have any applicable property to report.  They must also remit the unclaimed property to the Office of the WV Treasurer.  However, if you have no unclaimed property, you do not have to file a report.  Reports are generally due November 1 of each year, unless you are a life insurance company or a law enforcement agency (which have different due dates).

So you may be wondering what exactly is “Unclaimed Property”?  It is defined as any asset that has remained unclaimed for a specific period of time, such as utility deposits, unredeemed stock, a check that was never cashed, or contents of a safe deposit box.  Most common for businesses are uncashed checks, including payroll checks, vendor payments, and credits/refunds due.

Uncashed payroll checks are reportable after being outstanding for 1 year.  Uncashed vendor payments and refunds are reportable after being outstanding for 5 years.  Unclaimed safety deposit contents (or the proceeds from the sale of the assets) are reportable after being outstanding for 3 years.  The list for how long property must be outstanding before it is reportable (and remitted to the Treasurer) is located at on the Treasurer’s website.

Often times, checks listed as outstanding in your bank reconciliations have been replaced but not voided.  These are not unclaimed property.  But if you have outstanding checks that are older than 5 years (vendor payments, refunds to customers), and you have not replaced them by issuing a new check, they should be reported and remitted as unclaimed property.

The other side of Unclaimed Property is the possibility that you may have some property on deposit with the Treasurer’s office.  You can search their database here.  If you find your name, there is a process for submitting your request to claim your property.

The Treasurer’s office has the right to audit businesses for unreported unclaimed property.  If you have not complied with these rules, or have received a letter notifying you that your business is selected for audit, please contact us for help in complying.