Unclaimed property, often called escheat or abandoned property, continues to grow as a state revenue source. All states have unclaimed property laws, which create annual reporting responsibilities for organizations. The laws are often difficult for non-specialists to navigate and many companies have no dedicated full-time unclaimed property employees. To ensure compliance with unclaimed property laws, the states continue to launch audits of increasingly smaller companies, often conducted by contingency fee auditors.
Kilpatrick Townsend attorneys have considerable experience assisting holders in defending unclaimed property audits, including handling large multistate audits of publicly traded companies conducted by contingency fee audit firms and handling single-state audits of smaller holders with less annual revenue. We also have experience with general ledger audits and with audits of specific property types (such as securities audits). Further, our attorneys assist holders in many different industries on unclaimed property audits, including holders in the financial services, healthcare, and oil and gas industries.
Our unclaimed property consulting experience encompasses a wide variety of issues, including:
- Assistance with cleaning up past exposures, including obtaining voluntary disclosure agreements.
- Determining whether specific property is reportable and, if so, to which state.
- Advising on existing gift card company structures and making suggestions for improvement.
- Assisting companies in developing unclaimed property policies and procedures to reduce future audit exposure.
- Advising intermediaries (e.g., transfer agents) on policies for unclaimed property compliance in connection with the services they provide to their clients and their clients’ clients.
- Advising intermediaries on best practices for handling unclaimed property audits of their clients.
- Providing guidance on steps to be taken to locate lost owners, including compliance with Rule 17AD-17.
Kilpatrick Townsend attorneys serve on national organizations in the unclaimed property area, including the Unclaimed Property Subcommittee of the American Bar Association’s State and Local Tax Section, Executive Committee.