California Controller John Chiang has reminded unclaimed property holders that property for owners with a last known address in California must be reported to California. A state cannot indemnify for unclaimed property that does not belong to that state, the controller said. Rules of jurisdiction to assist holders in properly filing unclaimed property reports are listed by the controller as follows:
(1) Primary rule: Property is reportable to the state of the owner’s last known address.
(2) Secondary rule: If the address is unknown, property is reportable in the holder’s state of domicile.
(3) Transaction rule: Traveler’s checks, money orders, and similar written instruments are reportable in the state where the transaction occurred.
Even if another state is willing to accept “incidental” unclaimed property on behalf of California, the holder will still be liable for any penalties or interest assessed by the controller.
The controller also discusses the importance of reporting complete owner information and common reporting errors.
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Holder Outreach Newsletter, California State Controller’s Office, Summer 2011