Holders breathe a sigh of relief when December rolls around. Fall unclaimed property filings are mostly complete with only a couple of December deadlines remaining. Time to sit back and relax through the holidays, right? Not if you want to make your spring and summer unclaimed property reporting seasons run smoothly.
The first spring unclaimed reporting deadlines start in March and roll on from there in a steady stream until the summer reports due at the beginning of July. Mixed in between now and those spring and summer deadlines are holidays, year-end close, financial reporting requirements, quarter closes, and all your other day to day tasks and deadlines not related to unclaimed property. Below are a few things that you and your unclaimed property team can start doing now to keep ahead of the game.
- Reissue checks for the due diligence responses you received during the fall mailings. Besides just being a good business practice, reissuing these items sooner rather than later will help keep down the complaints from property owners regarding delays in receiving their money. These properties have been dormant for years. Now that the owners know about them, they want their money as soon as possible.
- Perform a data review. The same people who are going to have to review these items are more than likely the same people who are about to be caught up in the hectic year-end close and/or financial reporting process. Not to mention the upcoming holidays where a large number of these employees may be out of the office. It would be in your unclaimed property team’s best interest to go ahead and get any of these data updates out of the way now rather than waiting until events occur that will cause delays in the review process.
- Send due diligence letters as soon as possible. Those spring reporting deadlines sneak up fast when you consider that once letters are sent, there are timelines that must be allowed for due diligence responses. Any buffer your team thinks it has as far as timeline can be eaten up quickly by the time period that has to be allotted for receiving responses.
- Review changes to funding of the unclaimed property reports and the report submission process. As the states continue to move towards electronic reporting and funding you will want to make sure the people in charge of turning in the reports and those who process the payments to the states are aware of any changes. Check to see if any of the spring or summer states have made changes to their reporting and/or funding instructions since the previous year’s reports. Having the report submission websites and the updated funding process ready to go will allow you not to worry about these all-important requirements when the reporting deadline is on top of you.
The steps listed above are just some of the things you and your unclaimed property team can do to make the next unclaimed property reporting season smoother and hopefully less stressful. This is also a great time to reflect on any challenges or issues you encountered and take a deeper dive into areas that need to be addressed for improvement to the process for upcoming cycles.
A New Year can also bring departmental and personnel changes which can disrupt the escheat compliance process. Reviewing your best practices, policies and procedures proactively can lessen the burden of any transition of the process to new team members that may have minimal unclaimed property compliance experience.
Unclaimed property can be one of those business functions that may be difficult to tackle. However, allowing time to review the previous reporting cycle and resolving issues sooner rather than later can help you to ensure successful future compliance. If you have concerns about your compliance program, give us a call at 844-357-1099 or Contact Us and we will be happy to share our expertise with you.