Are you in compliance with Iowa Code Chapter 556?

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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

BY State Treasurer
Michael L. Fitzgerald

We share a common goal: to provide citizens and customers with excellent service. As part of this goal, my office runs the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt, a program dedicated to reuniting Iowans with their lost or unclaimed property. Twice a year, newspapers aid my office in these efforts through publication of our unclaimed property lists.

Because we continue to seek out organizations and businesses which may not have reported unclaimed property in recent years, I would like to remind publishers of their legal responsibility to annually report and remit.

Unclaimed property is an outstanding obligation owed to a person, business, shareholder, investor, employee or customer, among others. This obligation is considered unclaimed when there has been no owner contact for a set period of time, which is generally three years. Examples of unclaimed or abandoned property specific to newspapers may include, but are not limited to: deposits, ad refunds, payroll checks, credit balances, other refunds or outstanding checks issued for goods or services.

Iowa unclaimed property law requires all businesses to review their records each year and report unclaimed assets to my office. Before turning this property over, newspapers should attempt to contact the owner by sending a letter to the last known address, explaining the property’s existence and encouraging the owner to contact the newspaper to receive the funds. By law, this “due diligence” letter is required for all properties $50 and over. If an owner fails to come forward, a newspaper must file an unclaimed property report with my office during the reporting period of July 1 and November 1 each year. This report should include all property reportable as of July 1.

Finally, newspapers are encouraged to search GreatIowaTreasureHunt.gov for any unclaimed property that may belong to the newspaper.

For more information regarding unclaimed property law, how to file a report or to determine whether you have unclaimed property that is reportable to the state of Iowa, visit GreatIowaTreasureHunt.gov and select the “Reporting Property” page. For questions regarding the law, filing an unclaimed property report, early reporting, periods to be covered and other compliance issues, please contact our Unclaimed Property Division at (515) 281-7546 or email upreport@iowatreasurer.gov.

I appreciate the role that newspapers play in reaching our common goal of providing excellent services and returning lost funds to Iowans.