September 08, 2014 13:42 ET

The $41 Billion Question: What Businesses Need to Know About Unclaimed Property

Unclaimed Property Professionals Organization to Host Holders Seminar Sept. 17-18 in Atlanta to Educate Businesses on Compliance, Reporting and More

MINNEAPOLIS, MN--(Marketwired - September 08, 2014) - $41 billion is enough to get anyone's attention. As of 2013, there's currently $41 billion worth of unclaimed money and property in the U.S. That's the equivalent of:

  • Bill Gates' net worth
  • The gross products of five U.S. states
  • The price Comcast paid for Time Warner Cable

That $41 billion represents thousands of uncashed payroll checks, derelict bank accounts, abandoned safe deposit boxes and insurance proceeds. This money belongs to individual consumers, many of whom don't know they are owed money -- an average of $600 for every adult in the U.S. But it's business owners that could pay an even bigger price for running afoul of state laws regarding unclaimed property.

Last year, noncompliance cost businesses millions in penalties and related expenses. How can companies avoid these steep penalties? The first step is to understand the often-confusing web of public laws -- different in all 50 states -- related to unclaimed property reporting and compliance processes.

Representatives from hundreds of businesses across the country are gathering in Atlanta Sept. 17-18 to discuss the latest challenges, compliance and reporting issues and best practices regarding their rights and responsibilities when it comes to unclaimed assets. 

The Unclaimed Property Professionals Organization (UPPO), which is hosting its annual Holders Seminar in Atlanta, is the only U.S. organization dedicated to educating professionals responsible for unclaimed property compliance. UPPO helps businesses stay ahead of the curve and understand the nuances of this complicated topic through educational resources.

"Unclaimed property can be a complicated topic, and there is no 'one-size-fits-all' approach to compliance because of differences in state laws," said Debbie Zumoff, UPPO board president and attorney. "Keeping current on state reporting requirements and staying ahead of the curve by understanding the nuances of compliance is the best defense against an audit. UPPO has the expert resources to help business owners understand and simplify this complex and often frustrating pain point for both large and small enterprises."

Zumoff offers these tips for businesses seeking topline advice on unclaimed property compliance:

Understand differences in state laws. For companies conducting business in multiple states, it's important to understand and abide by compliance processes and requirements in each.

Pay attention to process. State laws vary, but all require a documented due diligence process that shows state auditors that companies have tried to locate rightful property owners.

Stay informed. There are frequent changes and clarifications to state requirements, which can put businesses at a disadvantage if they are not continually informed. UPPO members receive a complimentary subscription to GovWatch, a weekly email update that summarizes state unclaimed property rule changes.

For more information about UPPO or to register for the UPPO Holders Seminar in Atlanta Sept. 17-18, visit

About UPPO

The Unclaimed Property Professionals Organization (UPPO) has been the industry leader in unclaimed property professional education for more than 20 years. UPPO hosts dozens of events and training seminars to help educate and inform unclaimed property practitioners in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Canada. The UPPO mission and vision have remained consistent from the beginning: to be the premier resource for unclaimed property information, education, networking and advocacy for the private sector, and to be a leader in unclaimed property compliance and reform. Visit for more information on membership and upcoming events. 

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