Auditor of State Charlie Daniels returned $11.3 million to owners of unclaimed property in fiscal year 2013, an increase of 30% over the amount of claims paid in 2012. Over 13,000 Arkansans received a check for unclaimed property last year, with property claimed through the new e-Filing online claims process helping drive up total paid out over last year.
“It’s very common for un-cashed checks, refunds, deposits and credit balances to wind up sitting in our office because the original owner has moved or passed away,” Auditor Daniels said. “Now that we have an option to file electronically, it is easier than ever to claim your money.”
The Auditor of State provides an online unclaimed property search at www.auditor.ar.gov,
as well as a mobile app for users with Smart Phones. Users can search for property by entering a last name and, in many instances, can complete the claim process online and receive their check in less than 7 days. If additional information is needed, a paper claim form is initiated which can take from 1-4 weeks from the time the claim is submitted until the owner receives a check, depending on how much information is needed to verify claimant eligibility. Since the launch of the new e-Filing system, the Auditor’s office has paid an average of 350 claims per week.
Each year during the Great Arkansas Treasure Hunt, the office publishes a list of owner names in newspapers across the state and, more recently, has been using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to raise awareness about the program. Daniels credits the increase in 2013 claims to the popular new e-Filing system that speeds up the claims process for online users and frees up claims agents to investigate complex claims that take more time and resources. After officially launching in March, e-Filing represented 41% of the total claims from last year.
“The key to putting more of this money back in peoples’ pockets where it belongs is simply awareness. Remember that it’s up to you to check the list, and you’ll probably be surprised at what you find.”
For more information, contact the Auditor of State’s office at 1-800-CLAIM-IT, firstname.lastname@example.org, or by searching www.auditor.ar.gov.
About Unclaimed Property
Arkansas law requires businesses and government organizations to report abandoned property to the Auditor of State after the property remains unclaimed for a specified period of time, usually
1-5 years depending on the type of property. Unclaimed property can include things like credit balances, security deposits, utility refunds, stocks, bonds, cash and even mineral royalties. Once the property is turned over to the Auditor of State, it remains in trust for the original owner or the owner’s heirs to come forward and claim.
Since the program’s inception, the Auditor of State has returned over $101 million to original owners of unclaimed property.