Within the last 18 months, the state of Tennessee has enacted two new statutes significantly changing their unclaimed property law.
House Bill 420
On May 25, 2017, House Bill 420 was signed into law. This new law repealed and reenacted the Uniform Unclaimed Property Act (RUUPA) and is Tennessee’s version of the 2016 Revised Uniform Unclaimed Property Act. It included reductions in dormancy periods, dormancy trigger changes and new due diligence requirements, among other measures. It also introduced new provisions for certain property types, including stored value cards, and provided for new reporting and payment requirements.
The biggest change to the Tennessee unclaimed property law included the reduction from five to three years in the dormancy periods for most property types. However, under the new law, payroll properties have a one- year dormancy and stored value cards have a five-year dormancy.
The new law included a listing of what may constitute owner interest in a property. Indications of owner interest include:
- Presentment of a check or other instrument of payment
- Increase or decrease in the property amount by the owner
- Making a deposit or withdrawal from an account, other than an automatic reinvestment of dividends or interest
- Record of communication from the owner to the holder (written or oral)
- Any action that reasonably demonstrates that the owner is aware that the property exists
Due Diligence Requirements
The legislation provides specific guidelines on due diligence for the holder of the property. Holders of property presumed abandoned must send a notice to the owner:
- For all property with a value of $50 or more
- By first-class mail 60–180 days before filing the report. (This is a change from the previous 60/120 day rule.)
- With the notice containing specific language that identifies the property and owners; provides instructions for the owner to collect the property from the holder; and informs the owner that if not claimed, the property will be turned over to the state treasurer for them to claim
- Providing for an electronic mail notice. (If an owner has consented to receive electronic communications from the holder, notice must be sent by both first-class mail and electronic mail, unless the holder has reason to believe that the electronic address is invalid.)
Stored Value Cards
Stored value cards now have a dormancy period of five years after the later of:
- December 31st of the year that the card was issued,
- The date of the most recent indication of owner interest, or
- The date of the last balance verification made by an apparent owner.
Reporting and Payment Requirements
Holder reports and payment must now be made by electronic means. The Tennessee Unclaimed Property Division has implemented ReportItTN, a new holder reporting portal, through which the holder can upload files and make payments. The State notes on its website that holder reports and payments not received through ReportItTN will be rejected.
House Bill 2278
The second new statute, House Bill 2278, was signed into law on April 24, 2018. This bill made a major change to required report dates. It shifted, from December 31 each year to May 1 in 2018 and to November 1 in 2019 and years thereafter, the date by which the holder of abandoned property must file a report with the State regarding the property.
Previous to HB 2278, the report covered property held for the period from January 1 through December 31, with a filing deadline of the subsequent May 1. As a consequence of HB 2278, the next report due to Tennessee must cover property held for the period from January 1, 2018, through June 30, 2019 (i.e., 18 months), and must be filed before November 1, 2019. Thereafter, the report must be filed before November 1 of each year and must cover the twelve (12) months preceding July 1 of that year.
The unclaimed property environment is constantly changing. If you are uncertain about your unclaimed property responsibilities or whether your organization is complying with the latest statutes, engage with an unclaimed property professional such as MarketSphere. A professional advisor has the expertise and knowledge to help holders understand the requirements imposed by state statutes and regulations and recommend actions that need to be taken.