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Unclaimed Property

We provide advocacy and operational solutions to managing and minimizing all areas of risk associated with unclaimed property compliance.

Unclaimed Property

Unclaimed property may be a hidden cost for many companies, and the ability to track such property as well as staying current with changing legislation, rulings, filing and escheat requirements can seem overwhelming.

    Our unclaimed property professionals can act as your true advocate. Our team is comprised of a national group of professionals with diverse backgrounds, including industry and government, and many are nationally recognized in the area of unclaimed property advocacy. We recognize these challenges and provide customized services to assist you with identifying risk and managing the overall process. Baker Tilly can help you establish long-term solutions that minimize the risk of audit, the burden of unclaimed property compliance and proactively help you implement or enhance critical processes and procedures.

    Baker Tilly can help you with all unclaimed property issues, including:

    Our team understands the often-daunting responsibility of annual unclaimed property compliance. We realize the rules and regulations in this ever-evolving area are inconsistent, complex, constantly changing and sometimes appear ambiguous. In contrast to other state and local compliance areas, knowledgeable resources are scarce. Through many years of experience in working with our clients, we understand these challenges and have established economical methods for identifying and processing unclaimed property. 

    Outsourcing of annual compliance 

    Navigating the uncertain terrain of unclaimed property compliance in more than 50 jurisdictions can be difficult and treacherous. Over and under reporting are common errors that plague many holders without resources dedicated to unclaimed property compliance. Our team utilizes our experience with hundreds of holders to fulfill our clients’ annual compliance function efficiently and effectively. We serve as your advocate by identifying and reducing risk and exposure. Our team’s primary focus is to deliver best practices to our clients, maximize savings and mitigate risk with proven expertise and commitment. 

    Annual compliance services 

    Our annual compliance process is a time-tested approach that provides the following advantages: 

    • Identification and application of exemptions and deductions 
    • Full service due diligence letter notification process 
    • Preparation of paper and electronic annual reports 
    • Maintenance of reporting history and database of property due in the future 
    • Receipt and tracking of state notices, including interaction with state administrators in the event of a report related question 
    • Reconciliation of the unclaimed property database 

    The benefits of outsourcing 

    In a perfect world you could do it all, including unclaimed property compliance. However, the reality is that a team of specialized professionals working as your advocate can help you achieve greater results with fewer resources. We offer: 

    • Best practices 
    • Consistent quality 
    • Technical expertise 
    • Accurate reporting 
    • Credibility with jurisdictions 

    Our team is comprised of experienced professionals, CPAs and former state auditors, all with extensive experience in multiple jurisdictions, and can provide assistance with all issues that may arise under audit, whether conducted by a third-party contract auditor on behalf of multiple jurisdictions or by the audit personnel of a single state. 

    If a holder is selected for an unclaimed property examination, our team can provide assistance in effectively managing all aspects of the audit process. Depending on each holder’s unique facts and circumstances, our team typically assists with the following: 

    • Obtaining a written scope of the audit, including the look-back period(s), entities included and property types under review 
    • Obtaining executed confidentiality agreements from the auditors 
    • Developing timelines and work programs to assist in the timely and efficient completion of the audit 
    • Responding to auditor inquiries for information and documentation 
    • Developing strategies to potentially reduce unclaimed property exposure 
    • Providing insight and guidance to the holder regarding options in how best to conduct the audit 
    • Providing analysis related to various categories of property potentially subject to reporting 
    • Performing appropriate unclaimed property research and quantification of preliminary exposure by property type and jurisdiction 
    • Obtaining documentation and providing technical support for the development of defensive positions 
    • Assisting the holder in making a best effort attempt to resolve open issues 
    • Conducting closing meetings with the auditors and/or the states 
    • Obtaining closing agreements, including final “Demand Notices” for payment of any exposure identified and agreed to by the holder 
    • If necessary, presenting and discussing available appeal remedies with the holder for any remaining open issues 

    While we provide many unclaimed property services, one of the most multi-faceted is the assistance that we provide holders in availing themselves of the various jurisdictions’ unclaimed property voluntary disclosure agreement (VDA) programs. 

    A VDA involves contacting the jurisdiction to forge an agreement between the holder and jurisdiction to resolve the holder’s outstanding unclaimed property obligations. Our nationwide experience in this field has afforded us solid relationships with all jurisdictions. As your advocate, our team has extensive experience in representing holders during unclaimed property voluntary disclosure negotiations. Depending on each holder’s unique facts, the assistance our team can provide typically includes: 

    Diagnostic analysis 

    The VDA process begins with a review of our client’s current processes and potential unclaimed property exposure that will become the subject of the VDAs, as well as for other relevant jurisdictions where they may be holding unreported unclaimed property. This process allows our team to gain valuable insight into the root causes of our client’s exposure, identify all areas of potential liabilities, assess the resource requirements necessary to manage and finalize our client’s VDAs, as well as evaluate the need for any additional state VDAs that may be necessary. 

    Strategy development and exposure quantification 

    Our team assists each client with the preparation of a precisely detailed calculation of potential unclaimed property exposure by property type and by jurisdiction. By working with our clients, we develop strategies and positions to mitigate their potential reportable unclaimed property tailored to their specific facts and circumstances. Based on our many years of experience using various time-proven strategies that we have developed, we are often able to significantly reduce our client’s reportable unclaimed property exposure. 

    Negotiation and settlement 

    In collaboration with our client, our team negotiates with each jurisdiction in which their company has entered into a VDA to facilitate settlements where significant amounts of past due property have been identified. Prior to a jurisdiction’s administrator accepting and executing the VDA, the negotiation process often requires an in-person meeting with the jurisdiction to allow it to review the work papers that support the amount of the proposed remittance. We coordinate with the respective jurisdictions on behalf of our client and can assist with, and participate in, all meetings necessary to facilitate settlements for our client’s past due unclaimed property exposure. 

    Whether from a risk management perspective or prompted by an inquiry from your financial auditors, Baker Tilly can assist holders in quantifying the various categories of unclaimed property specific to any industry or fact pattern. To achieve this result we employ analytical, forensic and statistical work to uncover, quantify and mitigate many years — sometimes decades — of exposure that a company may face.

    We are available to serve as your company’s complete unclaimed property resource, whether for general information or designing and implementing a planning strategy tailor-made to your specific needs. 

    Our highly trained professionals have extensive technical and industry-specific experience that can assist holders with a multitude of unclaimed property issues. Whether assisting with complex transactions, such as mergers and acquisitions, or one-off questions, we provide the technical knowledge that your organization needs. 

    Gift card consulting 

    Over the past several years, retailers have seen a dramatic increase in the sale of electronic gift cards and other stored value cards. Our professionals have assisted many large and specialty retailers in developing strategies to manage and administer their gift card and store credit operations more effectively, while positively impacting the issuers’ bottom line. 

    We help clients track and resolve potential unclaimed property issues through the development and planning of industry-leading policies and procedures.  

    High-level diagnostic review 

    To gain an objective and preliminary understanding of a holder’s current unclaimed property processes, our team can assist in identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats associated with their existing processes. In addition to the development of process improvement recommendations, we also assist with the quantification of exposure related to areas of potential unreported, over-reported and under-reported unclaimed property. 

    Process improvements and leading practices for unclaimed property policies and procedures 

    Once a holder’s past exposure issues, if any, have been appropriately resolved, resources should be directed to future ongoing compliance efforts. This should involve the establishment of best practice policies and procedures to avoid future non-compliance and the risk of significant assessments in subsequent audits. Over the years, our professionals have worked with many Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies in the area of process improvement and the establishment of formalized policies and procedures. 

    The five Ws of unclaimed property record retention