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Holding someone else’s cash? Report it.

Your city or town may be holding unclaimed property that should be reported to the state of South Carolina.

The S.C. Uniform Unclaimed Property Act requires all entities holding unclaimed property to file an annual report and remit the associated funds to the State Treasurer’s Office Unclaimed Property Program. Unclaimed property includes, but is not limited to, wages, insurance proceeds, customer deposits and credit balances that have remained unclaimed by the rightful owner for a specified period of time. The dormancy period for wages and utility deposits is one year and five years for outstanding checks, insurance proceeds and credit balances.

The law requires all holders, including municipalities, to examine their records each year to determine whether they have any unclaimed property, regardless of the amount, as of June 30.

If any unclaimed property is discovered, the city must perform due diligence to locate the owner of the property. No more than 120 days before filing its report to the State Treasurer’s Office, the city must send a written notice to the owner notifying him of the unclaimed property. The notice should state that the funds will be remitted to the state if a response is not received.

Due diligence notices are required for all unclaimed property valued at $50 or more. If the city has previously attempted to contact the owner but discovered the address on file is no longer valid, a due diligence notice is not needed. A sample notice is available on the State Treasurer’s Office website.

If the city does not hear back from the owner in response to the due diligence notice, or if the owners of the property can’t be located, the property must be remitted to the State Treasurer’s Office along with a report that includes the names and last-known addresses of the owners. All property that is unclaimed must be reported and remitted regardless of the amount.

Holders must file their unclaimed property reports and remit the funds each year before November 1. Payment can be made by check, Automated Clearing House or bank wire. The program’s staff grants extensions on a limited basis. Entities must request an extension before October 1 with an explanation for the extension request.

The reports must be submitted electronically in the format prescribed by the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators. South Carolina no longer accepts unclaimed property reports on CDs or submitted on paper. 

Throughout the year, the Unclaimed Property Program staff looks for property owners and also conduct an aggressive statewide outreach campaign that includes various forms of traditional and news media. The unclaimed property database on the State Treasurer’s website is updated weekly so potential claimants can have up-to-date online access to the information.

The Unclaimed Property Program audit team routinely performs examinations, which focus on assisting entities with reporting unclaimed property and verifying compliance with the law. Entities that have never reported or have gaps in their reporting histories will be given priority when assigning compliance examinations. Interest and penalties may be assessed on unclaimed property not remitted as required by state law. 

Cities and towns can avoid penalties by voluntarily reporting any past-due property. The treasurer’s staff will work with local officials throughout the process to make it as easy as possible. To get in compliance with the Unclaimed Property Act and report past-due property, contact the State Treasurer’s Office and request a voluntary disclosure agreement. 

Unclaimed property representatives are available at 803.737.4771 or unclaimed@sto.sc.gov to help holders comply with the law.
This S.C. State Treasurer’s Office provided this article.