All entities holding unclaimed property, including local governments, are obligated to review records each year and attempt to return those funds, according to the SC Uniform Unclaimed Property Act. When owners cannot be contacted, those funds must go to the State Treasurer until the owner can be located. The State Treasurer's Office reports that it has returned nearly $300 million in total.
- For municipalities, unclaimed funds can take numerous forms, including:
- Accounts payable – Unpaid credit balances, which can include uncashed payroll checks.
- Courts and jails – Overpaid bail bonds or leftover inmate account funds.
- Parks and recreation – Deposits for facility rentals.
- Water/sewer funds – Deposits left when customers end service.
The process has a few steps:
- By June 30 – Cities must review records for any unclaimed property.
- July to October – Attempt to locate property owner by sending the owner a notification form letter to the last address on file. In the absence of a valid address, cities are not required to send a letter.
- By November 1 – Send electronic unclaimed property report and remittances to the State Treasurer.
The State Treasurer's website provides a form owner notification letter as well as information on how to create reports in acceptable formats and remit funds. The site also allows users to search for unclaimed property they may be owed by entering their name and city of residence.