REPORTING TANGIBLE PROPERTY
THIRD PARTY/PROPERTY LOCATORS
Q: What is the deadline for filing an unclaimed property report?
A: The deadline to file an unclaimed property report with the Pennsylvania Treasury Department is April 15th
Q: Are holders required to file a “negative report”?
A: Negative reports are not statutorily required; however, they are helpful for the department in tracking annual compliance.
Q: Can holders transmit a negative report electronically?
A: Yes. To file a negative report electronically, Click here and follow instructions to submit your report.
Q: Who do I make the check payable to?
A: Make the check payable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, listing “Bureau of Unclaimed Property” in the memo line.
Q: Does the Treasury Department accept wire transfers of funds?
A: Yes, holders that wish to send payments to Treasury by a wire or ACH transfer should either call the holder line at
1-800-379-3999, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. or by email and a compliance professional will provide you with instructions.
Q: Does Pennsylvania’s Unclaimed Property Law require holders to perform due diligence
prior to submitting their report?
A: No, currently Pennsylvania’s Law does not require holders to perform due diligence prior to reporting general ledger property, however, reasonable efforts to locate the owner are encouraged.
Please note - holders/transfer agents for securities are required to perform due diligence according to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations.
Q: How far back does a first time filer have to go to clean up their books?
A: A first time filer should go back to the records from the beginning of the business, however, a minimum of ten years should be reviewed. First time filers should request to enter into Treasury’s Voluntary Disclosure Agreement program. For more information, please download our form.
Q: Can third parties (example: CPA firms) file on behalf of their clients?
A: Yes, third parties can file on behalf of their clients, however the AP-1 form must be signed by a corporate officer.
Q: What are the reporting requirements for gift cards?
A: Gift Card FAQs
Q: If I have less than 10 items to report, may I use the electronic reporting software program?
A: Yes, you may use the electronic reporting software if you have less than ten items to report.
Q: Must I use the electronic software program if I have more than 10 items to report?
A: We ask that a holder who has more than 10 items to report file through HRS Pro or another approved method of electronic reporting.
Q: Why does it state that the electronic reporting software program must be installed by a user with administrative privileges on the PC?
A: Many organizations place a security feature on employees’ computers. Contact your IT Department to get administrative privileges.
Q: Will Treasury accept electronic encrypted files?
A: At this time, Treasury cannot accept encrypted WINZIP files. HRS Pro is encrypted, but other files will be a case by case basis. Treasury also has an FTP site, which is secure.
Q: What is the aggregate amount in PA?
A: The aggregate amount is the highest amount that a property can be worth for which Treasury does not require the name and address of the owner in the report. The aggregate amount in PA is $49.99 and below.
Q: What is the threshold for reporting?
A: There are no de minimis amounts. Any amount is reportable to Treasury.
Q: Must 501 C3 and sole proprietors file?
A: Yes, 501 C3 businesses are required to report if they have unclaimed property. This must be done by April 15th of each year to be in compliance with the Unclaimed Property Law.
Q: If a Pennsylvania company is holding unclaimed property for a resident of another state, can it
be reported to Pennsylvania?
A: Property for residents of other states should be reported to the state of the owner’s last known address. If it is reported to Pennsylvania, we will turn it over to the appropriate state, however, we do not encourage this reporting practice.
Q: What if an owner contacts our company/organization after the property has been turned over to the State?
A: You, as the holder can take one of two actions:
- Instruct the owner to contact PA Treasury to claim their funds.
- Pay the owner the amount due. Then, submit a Holder Reimbursement Form (available on our website) to PA Treasury, along with proof of payment, to request that the funds be reimbursed to your business.
Q: How long does the holder have to retain the records submitted in a holder report?
A: Treasury’s Unclaimed Property Law does not have a specific time frame for records retention in this scenario. However, Treasury recommends that holders retain their records for at least 10 years after submitting their report.
Q: What are the various dormancy periods for particular property types?
A: The dormancy periods vary depending on the type of property, but for most types, the dormancy period is five years. There are some exceptions, the most notable is payroll and commissions, which is two years. The property dormancy matrix can be found on Treasury’s website.
Q: Can holders report unclaimed property before the dormancy period expires?
A: Property, other than securities, may be reported before the dormancy period expires with the permission of the Treasurer. The holder must submit a request via the Early Remittance Request Form.
Q: When are IRA’s reportable?
A: IRAs are reportable after five years from the demandable and distributable date (age 70.5) or the election date (age 59.5) if there is a string of uncashed checks.
Q: What items will be accepted by the vault?
A: Examples of items accepted by the vault include:
- Monies (cash, coins, coin collections, etc.)
- Cash deposits for beer kegs when returned to the distributor
- New video games, CDs & DVDs
- New toys (balls, games, dolls, etc.)
- Jewelry (costume or valuable)
- Bullion, silver, gold, or platinum
- Antiques, rare items
- Musical instruments
If you have a question about whether an item is acceptable or not, please contact the Treasury Department
Q: What is the proper procedure for reporting tangible assets?
A: Treasury recommends the use of electronic reporting for tangible property. Instructions can be found on Treasury’s website under the “Unclaimed Property” section and by clicking on “Reporting Unclaimed Property.” A TUP-40 form may be used in lieu of electronic reporting, also available on Treasury’s website.
Q: What is the dormancy period for property held by police departments?
A: Property that has no true or rightful owner, called and “unknown” owner, is reportable after it has been held for one (1) year. Property held by police departments with a true and rightful owner is reportable after it is held for five (5) years.
Q: If I file a tangible report, do I still need to file a negative report for intangible property or
A: No, if you file a positive report for one area (tangible or intangible), you are not required to file a negative report for the other area.
However, if your business needs to file positive reports for both tangible and intangible property, two separate reports must be filed.
Q: How do I file for an extension?
A: To file an extension, please complete the following form: Holder Extension Request. You may type directly into the form, print, and send an electronic copy via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Mail to: Pennsylvania Treasury Department
Bureau of Unclaimed Property
PO Box 1837
Harrisburg, PA 17105
Attn: Holder Compliance
*Please note, extensions will not be granted for two consecutive years.
Q: What do I do with my claim forms when I receive them?
A: Complete your claim forms and mail them as soon as possible to:
Pennsylvania Treasury Department
Bureau of Unclaimed Property
P.O. Box 1837
Harrisburg, PA 17105-1837
Q: What additional information may be required with my claim forms?
A: The documentation required to complete a claim varies, depending on who is claiming the property (the owner or a legal representative of the owner) and the type of property being claimed. There will be instructions specific to your claim on your claim forms. However, if additional information is required to process your claim, a return team member will contact you. Your claim cannot be processed until we receive all the necessary information. Please remember to sign your claim forms.
Q: My name is on the unclaimed property list. How do I find out the value of my property
before I begin the claims process?
A: To receive assistance from a claims representative, call 1-800-222-2046 from
7:30 AM – 4:30 PM, Monday – Friday, or e-mail email@example.com.
Q: Can a Power of Attorney (POA) claim on behalf of an owner?
A: The Bureau of Unclaimed Property will honor personal Powers of Attorney as long as we receive a certified copy of the POA, signed by the owner. The POA may execute the claim forms on behalf of the owner. Please note, the Bureau of Unclaimed Property requires all powers of attorney submitted to comply with 20 Pa C.S.A. Section 5601. Therefore, each power of attorney will need the required notice signed by the principal and required acknowledgement executed by the agent.
Q: How can I find out the status of my claim?
A: If you initiated a claim on Treasury’s Web site, you are issued a webinquiry ID with your personal email address that allows you to follow the progress of your claim online.
If you initiated your claim over the phone or by mail, you can speak with one of our claims representatives by calling 1-800-222-2046 from 7:30 AM – 4:30 PM, Monday – Friday, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: What if I cannot provide proof of ownership to the property?
A: Proof of ownership is usually established by address or Social Security verification, or, in some cases, presentation of the original property. Sometimes, the claimant is not able to verify that he or she lived at the last known address that was reported to the Bureau of Unclaimed Property. In these cases, the Bureau of Unclaimed Property will do everything we can to assist you in establishing ownership. If the Bureau of Unclaimed Property is not successful in finding a connection to an old address, you may be asked to do further research, such as contacting a former school district, tax bureau, or church. When all efforts have been exhausted and ownership cannot be proven, you may be required to obtain a letter of verification from the company that reported the property. The Bureau of Unclaimed Property takes into consideration other factors that may lead to payment of the claim. In most instances, claims of this nature are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
Q: What if I am reluctant to provide the Treasury Department with my Social Security number?
A: Personal identification information relating to unclaimed property claimants, including Social Security numbers, is confidential. The Treasury Department does not make such information available to the public or to third parties engaged in business as “finders” of unclaimed, lost, or abandoned property.
Treasury makes available publicly advertised lists of owners of unclaimed property. These lists do not contain the amounts of the property or the Social Security numbers of owners.
Q: Why am I receiving cash instead of my stock shares that were reported?
A: Treasury is required by the Disposition of Abandoned and Unclaimed Property Act to sell all shares after being reported by a holder. According to Section 1301.17(e) of the DAUPA, “The State Treasurer shall be required to sell all stocks, bonds and other negotiable financial instruments upon receipt of such items. The State Treasurer shall not be held liable for any loss or gain in the value that the financial instrument would have obtained had the financial instrument been held instead of being sold.”
Q: What if the owner of the property is deceased?
A: If the owner of the property is deceased, unclaimed property claims can be paid under certain conditions.
If the unclaimed property is valued at $11,000 or less and it has been at least five (5) years since a personal representative to the estate was appointed, the property may be paid to the surviving spouse, child, parent, or sibling of the decedent (preference given in that order), provided the owner died a resident of Pennsylvania, 20 Pa. C.S.A. Section 3101 (e).
The person claiming the property must be appointed personal representative to the estate by the court (and will be required to present a short certificate) under any the following conditions: If the property is valued at over $11,000, it has been less than five (5) years since the appointment of a personal representative, or no estate exists and you are a niece, nephew, grandchild, or other relative.
Q: What if the deceased owner died without a will?
A: If the owner died intestate (without a will), an administrator may be appointed by the Register of Wills office in the county where the decedent resided. A claimant may petition the Register of Wills to be appointed as the administrator. The administrator is responsible for distributing the decedent’s estate according to 20 Pa. C.S.A. Section 3101 (e). The Register of Wills may grant Letters of Administration (sometimes called a short certificate) which BUP may use to validate the appointed administrator.
Q: What if the deceased owner died with a will?
A: If the owner died testate (with a will), the executor must place the will on file with the Register of Wills, who will in turn grant Letters Testamentary (sometimes called a short certificate). The decedent’s estate is distributed by the executor according to the will.
Q: What if the deceased owner died in another state?
A: Please contact the Bureau of Unclaimed Property by calling 1-800-222-2046 from 7:30 AM – 4:30 PM, Monday – Friday, or e-mail email@example.com to obtain information specific to the deceased owner.
Q: What if the owner’s estate is still open or if the property value is over $11,000?
A: If the owner’s estate is still open or the property is over $11,000, a short certificate is required. A short certificate (sometimes called Letters of Administration or Letters Testamentary) is a certification that an estate proceeding is on record in the Register of Wills office in the county where the decedent was legally domiciled at the time of death. A short certificate can only be issued if the estate exists. The decedent’s will must be probated or an administrator appointed by the Register of Wills.
Q: What if the owner passed away before the check for his/her unclaimed property was issued?
A: If the decedent properly completed the claim prior to his death, BUP will issue the check to the decedent, as long as the bank will allow it to be deposited into the estate account. If the decedent died intestate (without a will), then a personal representative must be appointed and file a claim with BUP. (Please refer to the question/answer above “What if the deceased owner died without a will?”).
Q: What is a short certificate?
A: A short certificate is a certification that an estate proceeding is on record in the Register of Wills office. This document can also be referred to as Letters of Administration or Letters Testamentary.
Q: What is a Relationship by Entitlement to Decedent Owner Affidavit?
A: A Relationship by Entitlement to Decedent Owner Affidavit is a document that is sometimes used by the Bureau of Unclaimed Property to transfer unclaimed property to a decedent’s heir. It can be used when:
- The owner died without an estate or the estate has been closed for more than five years since the estate was opened.
- The total value of the property is less than $11,000
- The owner was a legal resident of Pennsylvania at the time of death.
- The claimant is the surviving spouse, child, parent, or sibling (preference given in that order). If the claimant is not the surviving spouse, child, parent, or sibling, a short certificate is required.
Q: Why is a certified death certificate required when claiming on a relationship affidavit?
A: The Decedents, Estates and Fiduciaries Code, 20 Pa. C.S.A. Section 3101 (e)(2)(i), requires that a certified death certificate must be presented. In addition, the Pennsylvania Department of Health prohibits the copying of certified death certificates.
Q: What if someone offers to help me locate my unclaimed money for a fee?
A: "Property locators" or "third parties" frequently send letters to residents of Pennsylvania and other states informing them that they are owed money by the Commonwealth and that, for a fee or a percentage of the recovered property, the firms and/or individuals can help them get it. In some cases, these "third parties" charge a fee just to send prospective claimants a claim form.
You can contact BUP directly to obtain unclaimed property information and you NEVER have to pay a fee to claim what is yours from our Bureau of Unclaimed Property!
Q: What if I would like to go through a third party to claim my property?
A: If you do use a "third party" or any third party to help locate or claim your property, please make sure the identity of the "third party" is included on or with the claim form. By law, "third party" can charge a fee of NO MORE THAN 15% of the amount of the claim. A signed Power of Attorney must be submitted prior to the claim forms being issued that includes the following information:
- are in writing and duly signed and acknowledged by the owner;
- clearly state the fee or compensation to be paid, which shall not exceed fifteen per centum (15%) of the value of the abandoned and unclaimed property;
- disclose the nature and value of the property; and
- disclose the name and address of the holder and, if known, whether the abandoned and unclaimed property has been paid or delivered to the State Treasurer.
The Bureau of Unclaimed Property requires all powers of attorney submitted to comply with 20 Pa C.S.A. Section 5601. Therefore, each power of attorney will need the required notice signed by the principal and required acknowledgement executed by the agent. Please note that this is a generic, general notice required to appear on all powers of attorney authorizing a fiduciary relationship. The notice is simply a method of providing general information and protection to the principal, and does not convey a power to the agent; only the language in the actual power of attorney can convey power. For example, a power of attorney may convey only a limited power for one specific purpose, to recover unclaimed property for the principal. The statutory notice does not broaden the limited power conveyed in the power of attorney.
Q: How do I become a third party and receive information from the Treasury Department?
Who should I contact
and can I purchase a list of owners?
A: All third parties must undergo a background check by the Treasury Department. The Bureau of Unclaimed Property continues to make a list of unclaimed property owners available for purchase. The price is $300.00 plus sales tax (6%) for Pennsylvania residents only. This list contains the name, last known address, nature and value of the property and the name of the reporting entity for more than 450,000 owners. Along with payment, individuals requesting the third parties’ disk must complete a Third Party Disk Request Form.
To request the forms, contact Robert Matter at (717) 787-6664, firstname.lastname@example.org, or the Bureau of Unclaimed Property, PO Box 1837, Harrisburg, PA 17105.
Q: How can I prevent my property from becoming unclaimed?
A: Keep accurate records of bank accounts, stocks, safe deposit boxes, life insurance policies, and other financial matters.
- Correspond with all financial institutions holding savings, checking, IRAs, Certificates of Deposit, and all other accounts at least once every three years.
- Cash all checks for dividends, insurance benefits, and wages. If you stop receiving dividends, you should contact the company that issues the dividends.
- Notify a family member or trusted adviser or the location of his or her financial records.
- Prepare a checklist of all financial assets in order to notify all concerned parties if you change your address.
Q: Why does the Treasury Department have my safe deposit box contents?
A: In general, if the lease or rental period on a safe deposit box has expired due to non-payment of rental fees for a period of five years, the safe deposit box is considered abandoned. The financial institution is required to open the box, inventory the items and send certain contents of the box to the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property in accordance with Section 1301.3 of the Disposition of Abandoned and Unclaimed Property Act (DAUPA).
Q: I did not receive all of the contents that I had in my safety deposit box. Where are the papers?
A: Miscellaneous papers, or papers without a monetary value such as birth and death certificates, deeds, and letters are not accepted by the Bureau of Unclaimed Property. Other contents, such as coins or jewelry, are held in safekeeping while the Treasury Department tries to find the rightful owner.
Q: Why did I receive cash instead of my safe deposit box contents?
A: The Bureau of Unclaimed Property makes every effort to locate the rightful owners by sending letters to their last known addresses and advertising their names in the newspaper. If there is no response from the owner, the Bureau of Unclaimed Property may sell the property at auction to the highest bidder. The claimant receives all proceeds from the sale of the property.
Q: When or where is the property auctioned?
A: The Bureau of Unclaimed Property offers a continuous online auction through eBay. The use of eBay guarantees a global marketplace for the auction, resulting in a more competitive bidding process. After a certified independent appraisal of the property is auctioned, the items are photographed and descriptions are written for auction.
Q: Can anyone bid on these items?
A: Yes, except Treasury employees and their immediate family members, who are prohibited from bidding
on these items.