Delaware Unclaimed Property VDA 2023 Invitation Dates

Sovos
January 25, 2022

This blog was updated on January 10, 2023

Delaware’s Secretary of State (SOS) recently advised that they plan to send invitations to participate in the Delaware VDA program around February 24, 2023 and July 14, 2023. If a company receives an invitation to participate in the VDA program and is interested in taking advantage of this opportunity, it must complete the VDA-1 application and email it to the DE SOS within 90 days of the invitation date. If a company elects to forgo its opportunity to participate in the VDA, it will be considered audit eligible and will be assigned to one of the DE third-party audit firms. With the introduction of SB 104, DE now can assess 20% interest on all property identified as being due to the state through the audit. By electing to participate in the VDA, interest and penalties will be waived, the review will be limited to Delaware and audit protection will be extended for the years, entities and property types included within the scope of the project.

Organizations should encourage their unclaimed property contacts, CFOs, upper management and DE-registered agents to be on the lookout for this letter. Many times, when holders receive these letters, they are not brought to the attention of the appropriate person or department causing the company to miss their VDA invitation window. Holders that do not respond to the VDA invitation letter within 90 days will be referred to the State Escheator for audit examination.

If you receive one of these invitations,  Sovos’ unclaimed property consulting team has extensive experience assisting organizations as a Holder Advocate, ensuring that all requirements of the Delaware VDA program are completed in an efficient and compliant manner, while also working to prevent company assets from being considered wrongfully due to the state.

If you did not receive a DE VDA invitation but discover that you may have past due exposure due to the state, then it is highly encouraged to consider enrolling in this voluntary compliance initiative.

Delaware VDA history

Delaware Senate Bill 141, which was passed and became effective on July 22, 2015, indefinitely extended the Delaware Secretary of State Unclaimed Property VDA program that originally expired July 1, 2016. Also included within DE SB 141 was the provision that no holder would be eligible for an audit without first receiving a notice or invitation to enroll in the VDA program. Holders are strongly encouraged to enroll in the program to avoid a costly unclaimed property audit and receive a full and comprehensive release of any past-due liabilities.

Holders enrolled in the VDA program are not eligible for audit by the State Escheator. However, if a holder receives an audit notice, they are precluded from enrolling in the SOS VDA Program and the Department of State is unable to accept their enrollment.

The Delaware VDA process is designed to allow companies to come into compliance faster, easier and less expensive than an audit. To make this process as streamlined as possible, holders are encouraged to utilize the services of an experienced holder advocate who possesses a thorough understanding of what is required to successfully complete the program. Sovos is a leading holder advocate for companies that require assistance, guidance and support in completing the Delaware Unclaimed Property VDA Program.

Top reasons to enroll in the DE VDA Program

  1. Receive a broad release — After completing the VDA program, Delaware will issue a full and comprehensive release of liability to include the delivery of all past-due properties up and through the date of the final deliverable.
  2. Avoid an audit — Once accepted into the Delaware VDA program, the state agrees not to audit the Holder, with the exception being evidence of fraud. Holders that have already received an audit notice are not eligible to enroll in the VDA program.
  3. Reduce penalties and interest — Delaware’s penalties and interest are among some of the highest in the nation. Effective August 2021, SB 104 introduced a 20% interest assessment on all property identified as being due to the state through audit. With the VDA you can also reduce the amount of time needed to complete the review period — likely within two years, as opposed to an audit, which can take between five to seven years. The VDA allows your organization to come into compliance faster, easier and less expensively than a traditional unclaimed property audit.
  4. Control the process – By being proactive you may customize the scope of your VDA. The VDA can be customized to your lines of business. You may also have the option of selecting the property types and/or legal entities within the scope of the VDA, which gives you greater control of the process and the work impact to your team.
  5. Identify gaps and inconsistencies – Sovos unclaimed property professionals will provide independent support to help review and test current procedures to help you identify current strengths and/or weaknesses in your compliance process. The work efforts and information gained from the DE VDA process will help you test processes, identify gaps and inconsistencies, and serve as a foundation to achieve improved compliance in other states where you may have gaps in reporting.

Post-Delaware VDA responsibilities

Once the ink is dry on the VDA-2 agreement and the agreed-upon amounts due to Delaware have been filed, it is important to remember that your reporting obligation is not over. Per the terms of all Delaware VDA-2 agreements signed with the Secretary of State, Holders must continue to file reports to Delaware for a minimum of three years to maintain the protections that were afforded through the VDA program – even if you determine that you have no reportable property due to Delaware (this is called a negative report or zero-dollar report). Failure to do so could result in the appearance of non-compliance and potential loss of audit protection. It is imperative that you continue filing to Delaware after completing the VDA process to ensure the time and effort exerted in completing the Delaware VDA is not wasted. While negative reports are not required in Delaware, it is best practice to submit a negative report if you’ve determined you have no unclaimed property due in Delaware even after the three year required period ends. This is considered a best practice as it confirms with the state that your company has completed your annual compliance check. As a recent development, communications are being sent from the Office of the Secretary of State inquiring about continued compliance and requesting Holders to “please file the reports or provide proof that the reports have already been filed.”

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Author

Sovos

Sovos was built to solve the complexities of the digital transformation of tax, with complete, connected offerings for tax determination, continuous transaction controls, tax reporting and more. Sovos customers include half the Fortune 500, as well as businesses of every size operating in more than 70 countries. The company’s SaaS products and proprietary Sovos S1 Platform integrate with a wide variety of business applications and government compliance processes. Sovos has employees throughout the Americas and Europe, and is owned by Hg and TA Associates.
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