FI0140 – Unclaimed Property
To provide policies on reporting and disposing of unclaimed property.
- The University of Tennessee is subject to the state of Tennessee's Uniform Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act when the last known address of the owner is in Tennessee, in a foreign country, or is unknown, in accordance with the Unclaimed Property Law, Tennessee Code Annotated 66-21-101 et seq. and Regulations 1700-2-1-.01 through 1700-2-1-37. This act requires the university to exercise due diligence in attempting to locate owners of unclaimed property in its custody and to annually report certain unclaimed property to the state. Additionally, the state of Tennessee accepts unclaimed property for which the owner's last known address is in another state or commonwealth of the U.S. The state reciprocally reports this property on behalf of the university to the appropriate state or commonwealth.
- Tennessee's Unclaimed Property Law applies to unclaimed property items (1) that the university owes to or is holding for other organizations or individuals and (2) for which the university has had no contact with the owner for a minimum of one year up to the maximum statutory period of five years.
Unclaimed property includes, but is not limited to:
- Uncashed payroll checks
- Uncashed disbursement checks
- Uncashed refund checks
- Uncashed miscellaneous checks
- Unidentified remittances
- Credit balances in accounts receivable
- Stored Value Cards (VolCard, Mocs Card, Skykawk Card, etc.)
- Non-cash items are considered "lost and found" items. These items are not considered to be unclaimed property and should not be reported to the state.
- Before reporting unclaimed property as described above, the university is required to exercise due diligence in attempting to notify the property owner of amounts $50 or greater with information on how to claim property. Sending first-class or registered mail to the last known address of the property owner constitutes due diligence. Letters must be sent during the “Due Diligence Window” specified by the state Treasurer and based on the reporting date. (Property under $50 requires no due diligence letter and is submitted to the state along with other unclaimed amounts from the same calendar year.)
- Mail returned as "undeliverable" is evidence that the owner cannot be located. If the owner cannot be located, the property should be considered abandoned and be reported to the state as unclaimed property.
- Unreturned mail is considered a contact (presumably, the owner has received the notification and is now aware of the property's location). If contact is established, the property is no longer considered to be abandoned and should not be reported to the state. If the owner does not claim the property or provide the university with directions for disposing of the property within 90 days of the date of contact, the university may then assume ownership of the property. The Controller’s Office will account for these funds in unclaimed property funds that remain available should the funds be claimed by owners.
- Each campus or institute business office is responsible for performing due diligence on all stored value cards (VolCard, Mocs Card, Skyhawk Card, etc.) that have been inactive for at least one year and a maximum of five years and that have a balance of $50 or greater. Detailed information associated with these cards must be maintained at the campus or institute level. Each campus or institute must compile and transmit a file of names, addresses, and social security numbers of dormant account owners, along with amounts to the Controller's Office by April 1 of each year. The list will also include balances under $50 for which due diligence is not required. This effort must be coordinated with the Controller's Office.
- Each campus or institute business office is responsible for performing due diligence on all credit balances in accounts receivable that have been inactive for at least one year and a maximum of five years and that have a balance of $50 or greater. Detailed information associated with these balances must be maintained at the campus or institute level. Each campus or institute must compile and transmit a file of names, addresses, and social security numbers of dormant account owners, along with amounts to the Controller's Office by April 1 of each year. The list will also include credit balances under $50 for which due diligence is not required. This effort must be coordinated with the Controller's Office. As an alternative, credit balances under $50 and inactive for one year may be reported through the Accounts Receivable Write-off Request (Form T-35).
Tennessee law requires the annual filing of the Unclaimed Property Report for all unclaimed property. The report can be submitted on the pre-printed form provided by the state Treasurer's Office, on a tape, a diskette, or on a computer printout (see instructions provided with the form for details).
- The UWA Controller's Office should compile the list of all cash items (i.e., uncashed checks, unidentified remittances, credit balances in accounts receivable, stored value cards) for the entire university and report it to the state Treasurer's Office.
Reports must be filed with the state Treasurer on or before May 1 of each year and must include property presumed abandoned held as of December 31 of the appropriate reporting year. The maximum abandoned period for the university is five years. The state Treasurer may grant one 30-day extension provided a written request is received on or before May 1. Unclaimed Property Reports should be mailed or delivered to:
Unclaimed Property Division
Andrew Jackson Building, Ninth Floor
Nashville, TN 37243-0242
- Along with the report, the UWA Treasurer's Office must submit a notarized verification form for unclaimed cash items, signed by the Treasurer.
The following timetable describes the year's schedule for reporting unclaimed property.
End of reporting year.
January 1 - February 28
Controller's Office and campus or institute business offices (stored value cards and credit balances in accounts receivable) perform required due diligence on appropriate items considered abandoned.
Deadline for campus or institute business offices to transmit excel file of abandoned property to the Controller's Office (stored value card and credit balances in accounts receivable.)
Reports, verification forms and unclaimed property (cash) are due in the state Treasurer's Office.
Note: The university will require proper proof of ownership when individuals claim property items. The Controller's Office and campus or institute business offices have developed procedures for handling claims.
Abandoned non-cash items may be:
- Sold at a public auction or by sealed bids in accordance with FISCAL POLICY FI0610;
- Donated to a local charity (if not purchased through a public sale); or
- Discarded or destroyed if not valuable.
The following provisions apply to certain types of valuable property:
- Jewelry must be appraised and a minimum sales price established. If appraised at little or no value, the jewelry should be discarded.
- Coins that appear to have a market value substantially higher than face value should be appraised and a minimum sales price set.
- Firearms should be disposed of in accordance with local statutes.
- Dangerous items (items of a combustible nature that are dangerous to store) should be safely disposed of as soon as possible.
- Illegal items should be disposed of in accordance with instructions from the proper legal authorities.
- Since 1990, the university has annually remitted unclaimed property funds to the state Treasurer. Before receiving payment for claims, owners must present property proof of ownership to the state Treasurer or the university. Accordingly, payment of claims for unclaimed property subsequent to 1990 is the responsibility of the state Treasurer. Prior to 1990 the university reported unclaimed property items to the state but was not allowed to maintain the funds. The university remains liable to the owners for all pre-1990 claims.
- Confiscated property will not be considered abandoned and should be treated as university surplus property for disposal purposes (see FISCAL POLICY FI0610). Confiscated firearms and other hazardous items should be disposed of in accordance with local statutes.
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