Legislative change makes Treasury’s ‘Lost Contact’ standard permanent
Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania Treasurer Joe Torsella today announced that the General Assembly recently amended the state’s Unclaimed Property Law to strengthen ‘lost contact’ standards by making Treasury’s internal policy standard law. The action will better protect consumers from having their investment accounts inadvertently reported as unclaimed property.
“The last thing we want is to receive unclaimed property that isn’t actually lost. While we’ve set records for the amount of money we’ve gotten back to taxpayers, the best thing to do is to keep it in Pennsylvanians’ hands whenever we can. We’re proud to have worked with legislators to put Treasury’s internal policy on a lost contact standard into law, to make sure property is only coming to us that is truly lost."
Pennsylvania Treasurer, Joe Torsella
Under Pennsylvania law, businesses, government agencies, and non-profit entities are required to report unclaimed property to Treasury. Each year, Treasury receives millions of dollars in unclaimed property – items such as abandoned bank accounts, forgotten stocks or shareholder accounts, uncashed checks, and contents of safety deposit boxes. The property remains available for claim by the owners or their heirs in perpetuity and Treasury serves as the custodian until it can find and return the property to its rightful legal owner.
In December, Treasury announced its policy to provide for a “lost contact” standard in order to help prevent the reporting of securities that are not abandoned, but merely buy-and-hold investments. House Bill 1929 was signed into law on June 22 which makes Treasury’s standard law. For investment accounts (e.g accounts with brokers, financial service providers, etc.), it is required that a double threshold be satisfied before the property is deemed to be “abandoned and unclaimed.” Before the property is considered “unclaimed,” and therefore reportable to the Commonwealth, the holder must have “lost contact” with the owner and the owner must not have had any contact or activity in the account for a period of three years.
Treasury’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property returned a record amount of unclaimed property to Pennsylvania taxpayers, returning almost $269 million, in Fiscal Year 2017-18.
Claimants may search Treasury’s website for unclaimed property. Treasury’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property is also available toll-free at 1-800-222-2046 and via email at email@example.com, to help conduct a thorough search for unclaimed property.