Unclaimed Property: How to Stay Ahead of Compliance Challenges

Mickaela Hilleren
April 12, 2022

This blog was updated on March 24, 2023

Did you know that approximately one in 10 people have unclaimed property (UP) in their name? Research conducted by Sovos found that there is upwards of $77 billion in UP assets currently in the United States. As states crack down to close the estimated $600 billion tax gap, UP is a prime target for states to recover revenue through compliance enforcement. We’ve highlighted the intricacies of UP and how businesses can alleviate the stress of the UP compliance process.

What is Unclaimed Property?

According to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, unclaimed or “abandoned” property refers to property or accounts held by financial institutions or companies—in which there has been no customer-generated activity (or contact with the owner) or the property due to an owner remains outstanding for one year or longer. Companies are responsible for reporting UP across all states in which they do business.

Examples of Unclaimed Property

Intangible UP is the most common form, but there are also cases of tangible UP. A few of the common forms of UP include:

  • Checking or savings accounts
  • Stocks
  • Uncashed dividends or payroll checks
  • Refunds
  • Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)
  • Unredeemed money orders or gift certificates (in some states)
  • Customer overpayments
  • Contents of safe deposit
  • Insurance payments or refunds and life insurance policies
  • Cryptocurrency (in some states)

UP is governed and enforced at the state level with no two states having the exact same UP laws. These laws can evolve or be regularly updated, requiring companies to monitor legislative changes. Failure to follow UP laws can land business owners in hot water with costly fines and even jail time. However, organizations are not always current on their UP requirements. Companies across numerous industries often don’t know they have an UP responsibility until they find themselves in hot water by way of an audit or receiving a compliance invitation letter from a state(s).

Unclaimed property is a compliance concern often put on the backburner, but it is now being brought to light. Governments are eager to close the growing tax gap by embracing new technology and enforcement methods to guarantee they collect what is legally required. Ensuring your organization is in full compliance with UP regulations is critical. Working with a trusted partner like Sovos ensures a fool proof strategy that streamlines the UP compliance process.

Take Action

Ready to learn more about the state of UP? Download our latest eBook.

Sign up for Email Updates

Stay up to date with the latest tax and compliance updates that may impact your business.


Mickaela Hilleren

Mickaela is a product marketing manager who focuses specifically on the unclaimed property solution offerings at Sovos. Mickaela has spent over five years as a marketing professional and currently works to understand the current unclaimed property space to ensure Sovos’ solutions are addressing the pain points and needs of its clients. Before coming to Sovos, Mickaela earned a B.S. in Consumer Affairs at South Dakota State University and worked to raise awareness for the outdoor recreation industry.
Share this post

North America ShipCompliant
September 26, 2023
How Can Women-Led Beverage Alcohol Companies Change the Industry?

The beverage alcohol industry might no longer be strictly viewed as a “boys’ club,” but there are a minority of women leading organizations in the space. However, the number of women-led wineries, breweries and distilleries is on the rise, which – as we’ll explain – is likely a very positive thing for the industry. Let’s […]

North America ShipCompliant
September 25, 2023
Potential Government Shutdown Will Affect Beverage Alcohol Industry

Unless Congress is able to pass an appropriations bill in the next few days, the U.S. government is set to shut down all nonessential services effective October 1, 2023. This will include (among many other agencies) the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), which will impact the beverage alcohol industry. If the shutdown […]

EMEA VAT & Fiscal Reporting
September 25, 2023
VAT in the Digital Age – Union One Stop Shop (OSS) Expansion

Entering into force on 1 January 2025, the EU Commission’s VAT in the Digital Age (ViDA) proposals have been introduced in an effort to modernize VAT across the EU.  One pillar of ViDA is the “single VAT registration,” which would reduce compliance costs for businesses. The Commission proposes to achieve this by expanding the Union […]

North America Tax Information Reporting
September 25, 2023
Why Conduct a Pilot Season for Tax Information Reporting?

Another tax information reporting season is just around the corner and now is the time to start preparing your teams handling forms such as Series 1099, 1098, 1042-S, 3921, 5498, W-2, W-2G and more. Getting your teams ready and testing your reporting process ahead of January ensures you are set up for a successful season. […]

North America Tax Information Reporting
September 21, 2023
Sovos Education Returns to Orlando with Statutory Accounting CPE

If you didn’t join us in D.C. or San Francisco earlier this year, you won’t want to miss one last opportunity in 2023 to take part in live continuing education. Sovos Education is returning to the Orlando area for a full week of statutory accounting CPE opportunities and we’re hoping to see you there. Sun […]