The Council On State Taxation (COST) is pleased to release its latest research: “The Best and Worst of State Unclaimed Property Laws.” This “Scorecard” builds on COST’s groundbreaking inaugural report (January 2009) providing an objective comparison of state statutes governing unclaimed property and holders’ rights and responsibilities. Unclaimed property “holders” are U.S. businesses that are required by law to remit unclaimed property for safekeeping by the state until claimed by the property’s rightful owner. COST has identified policies that, if adopted, contribute to an unclaimed property system that is perceived to be balanced, fair and effective. While unclaimed property is not a “tax,” in many respects it operates like one, and tax department personnel often have responsibility for compliance with unclaimed property laws and handling audits.
In this updated Scorecard, Massachusetts and Virginia take the top position as states with holder-friendly laws. Among the most important pro-holder policies generally reflected in top states are business-to-business exemptions, a reasonable period of limitations, an independent appeals process, and a ban on contingent fee audits (i.e., private “bounty hunters”). The states that score the poorest in these categories and occupy the bottom of COST’s rankings are Delaware, Mississippi, and New York. COST’s Scorecard provides a roadmap for state legislators seeking to improve their unclaimed property laws and business environment.
Click here to view the study.
Questions regarding the study should be directed to