New York is increasing its focus on unclaimed property compliance. The New York State Comptroller’s Office of Unclaimed Funds (OUF) recently sent letters to companies regarding participation in the state’s Voluntary Compliance Program (VCP).
The correspondence states:
We are contacting you because your company has conducted business in New York State, but has not filed reports with the New York State Comptroller’s Office of Unclaimed Funds (OUF) pursuant to the Abandoned Property Law (APL). The law can be found on the New York State Legislature’s website at http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/lawssrch.cgi?NVLWO.
We encourage you to review your records for any unclaimed funds that may be subject to reporting. Unclaimed funds include uncashed checks issued to employees or vendors, outstanding accounts receivable credits and credit balances, and unredeemed gift cards/certificates, among others.
The first step of coming into compliance with the law is completing our Self-Audit Checklist. This online survey will help you to identify if your company is holding any unclaimed funds. Find it online at https://surveymonkey.rNYSVCU and use reference number XXXXXX. Complete the survey even if you find that you have nothing to report.
If your survey results indicate your company could have unclaimed funds, the survey will serve as your application to OUF’s Voluntary Compliance Program (VCP). The VCP may entitle your company to amnesty from penalties and interest, which could be assessed under §1412 of the APL. For more information regarding the VCP or to access the survey from our website, visit www.osc.state.ny.us/ouf/reporters/htm.
In general, notifications from the OUF are addressed to senior corporate executives. They often do not reach the person or group responsible for unclaimed property compliance in a timely manner leading to potential consequences whereby the OUF may:
(1) send out additional inquiries, (2) determine to audit the company, or (3) exclude the company from future admittance into the VCP.
Our recommendation for companies incorporated in New York, or companies with significant operations in New York, is for the person responsible for unclaimed property compliance to make immediate inquiries to determine if any unclaimed property letter has been received from New York.
Any business that receives a letter from New York may want to consider contacting an unclaimed property advisor who has the experience to assist holders in understanding the options that may be available and determine the course of action that may need to be taken.
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