Month: October, 2020

Twas the Night Before Fall Reporting

Twas the night before Fall Reporting, and all through the firm,
Everyone in unclaimed property was starting to squirm.
Wire transfer instructions were given to disbursements with care,
In the hope that remittance confirmations soon would be there.

In state capitals, Treasurers smiled at the incoming proffers,
Knowing that millions would soon be in the states’ coffers.
Bob was in payables, and me with the CFO,
Was it all out?  Both of us wanted to know.

When down from the Controller there arose such a wailing,
I assumed there must be a late response to a due diligence mailing.
Away to accounting we ran down the hall,
Where Bob and I nearly tripped over the accumulated sprawl.

UP-1s, NAUPA codes, and Holder Reporting Guides,
Covered every flat surface with big stacks besides.
When, what led my stomach to churn and contort,
But hundreds of names that were left off the report.

When I asked how this many names could’ve been missed,
I was told they were still working off last quarter’s list.
Quickly, Bob and I each stifled a cry,
Certainly an exemption or two must here apply.

Airline miles? Lottery winnings? Stale B2B credits?
Perhaps just small balances with offsetting debits?
Alas, no, we would be late, and it might be gory,
With penalties and interest (both statutory).

There just wasn’t enough time to report all the names
Relationship codes, amounts less “lawful claims.”
We needed an answer, and the clock was still ticking,
Through each statute and reg, we just kept on clicking.

Then I noticed on the ledger I continued to assess,
All of the amounts listed were $50 or less.
My mood picked right up, and I started to sing:
We’ll just add it all up and report the whole thing!

Aggregate reporting — that was the way!
We’d still get this report out by the end of the day!
We quickly revised, and added, and listed,
Everyone in tax helped, even legal assisted.

When it was ready, we unleashed the whole thing,
Breathing a sigh of relief (at least ’til next spring).
And I said to Bob, as the remittance flew out of sight,
Happy fall reporting to all, and to all a good night!

Unclaimed Property on the Ballot in Louisiana

Constitutional Amendment Would Create Unclaimed Property Trust Fund to Pay Claims

You may not have heard, but this year is an election year. In addition to contests at the federal, state, and local level there is a constitutional amendment on the ballot in Louisiana relating specifically to unclaimed property. Louisiana Amendment 7 would create a permanent trust fund expressly earmarked to pay unclaimed property claims. The proposed amendment would require the State Treasurer to annually deposit, into a dedicated fund, net unclaimed property receipts (after deductions for certain expenses and statutory allocations) until such time all of the state’s potential unclaimed property liabilities are funded.

The specific language on the ballot is as follows:

Do you support an amendment to create the Louisiana Unclaimed Property Permanent Trust Fund to preserve the money that remains unclaimed by its owner or owners?

2020 Louisiana Act 38, Section 4.

This amendment results from the settlement of a lawsuit between Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards and State Treasurer John Schroeder over the use of unclaimed property as general treasury funds. Historically, Louisiana (like most states) has used unclaimed property receipts in excess of claims to fund state expenditures. After a reserve for claims, unclaimed property revenue is transferred from the unclaimed property fund to the state’s general treasury.

In 2019, Treasurer Schroeder refused to make the transfer, arguing that the funds did not belong to the government, but rather to the owners of those funds. The Treasurer also claimed that transfers to the general fund rendered the state unclaimed property program to be temporarily unable to pay claims. (A shortfall that happened again this year). The Governor disagreed, arguing that the use of these funds was expressly authorized by the state legislature. A lawsuit followed, in which the court ruled in favor of the Governor. Shortly thereafter, the two sides reached a deal that provided Edwards with additional funds now in exchange for the creation of a trust to fund future claims.

If it passes, the amendment will go into effect on July 1, 2021.

Update November 4, 2020 — According to KLFY Baton Rouge, the measure passed with 65% of the vote.