In Maine, all things relating to unclaimed property are handled by the Unclaimed Property Division of the Maine State Treasurer's Office.
- As a business owner, this will be the agency to contact if you possess unclaimed property (unpaid wages, for example). Remember that you are subject to both reporting requirements and the obligation to turn over abandoned property to the state.
- It is also the point of contact if you believe that you may have knowingly, or unknowingly, abandoned property (for example, failing to get back a security deposit, didn't receive a tax refund).
Maine businesses have a number of responsibilities concerning unclaimed property. Initially, written notice must be sent to the apparent owner of the unclaimed property, if known. If the property remains unclaimed, businesses have a number of filing and reporting requirements to fulfill. Most importantly, businesses are required to turn over any and all unclaimed property to the state. Stiff penalties apply to businesses who fail to comply with any of these requirements.
Individuals should know that Maine property is generally presumed abandoned after remaining unclaimed for a five year period. However, this time limit varies depending on the type of property involved. Once abandoned property is turned over to the state by a business, an individual then has the burden of reclaiming it from the state.
Reporting Unclaimed Property in Maine
A holder of abandoned property must file a report on property as of July 1 to the Treasury Department before November 1. Abandonment reports by life insurance companies must be filed before May 1. Effective July 1, 2005, reports for gift obligations and stored-value cards must also be filed before May 1. The Treasury Department may extend the time to file the report upon written request.
The report must include the following information:
- if available, the name and last known address, and if readily ascertainable, the social security number or tax payer identification number, of the owner of any property valued at $50 or more except traveler's checks, and money orders;
- an aggregated amount of items valued under $50 each;
- in the case of insurance corporations with unclaimed funds of $50 or more, the full name of the insured or annuitant and the last known address appearing on the corporation's records, as well as the full name and last known address of the beneficiary;
- in the case of property held in a safe deposit box or other safekeeping depository, an indication of the place where it is held and where it may be inspected by the administrator and any amounts owing to the holder;
- a description of the property;
- the date the property became payable, demandable, or returnable;
- the date of the last transaction with the owner with respect to the property; and
- any other information prescribed by the Treasury Department.
Prior notice to owner. A holder of abandoned property must send a notification letter to the owner of any property valued at $50 or more. The letter must be sent no more than 120 days or less than 60 days before the report is filed.
Delivery. The holder delivers the unclaimed property to the Administrator upon filing the report with the Treasury department. If the property is held in a safe deposit box or other safekeeping depository, it should be turned over to the administrator 120 days after the report is filed. If the property is an automatically renewable deposit and a penalty or forfeiture in the payment of interest would result from delivering it to the administrator at the time the report is filed, the property may be delivered to the administrator as soon as a penalty or forfeiture would no longer result from the delivery.
The holder may deliver property before it is presumed abandoned.
The holder will be notified within 120 days after filing the report if the Treasury Department declines the property.
Recordkeeping. A business must generally maintain related records 10 years after the unclaimed property is reported. However, the period is three years for traveler's checks, money orders, and similar financial instruments.
Penalties. a holder that fails to make a report or perform other duties is liable for a penalty of $200 per day up to an aggregate of $5,000 as well as interest at the annual rate of 18 percent or 10 percent above the annual rate of discount in effect on the date the property should have been reported.
A holder that willfully fails to make a report or willfully fails to perform other duties is liable for a penalty of $1000 per day up to an aggregate of $25,000 in addition to interest.
A holder that files a fraudulent report is liable for a penalty of $1000 per day a report was due up to an aggregate or $25,000 and 25 percent of the value of any property that should have been reported.
Claiming Unclaimed Property in Maine
In Maine, property is generally presumed abandoned after remaining unclaimed for a five year period. However, this time limit varies depending on the type of property involved. Once abandoned property is turned over to the state by a business, an individual then has the burden of reclaiming it from the state.
Locating abandoned property held by the state. The State Treasurer will publish a notice of abandoned property valued at $50 or more in a newspaper of general circulation by November 30 the year after the year in which the abandoned property has been delivered.
Unclaimed property held by the state may also be found by searching the state's website.
To find out if other states may be holding your unclaimed property, search the national database established by the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA).
Filing a claim. Any person claiming an interest in property delivered to the administrator may file a claim on a form prescribed by the Treasurer. The owner may claim dividends, interest, or other increments realized or accruing on property other than money held by the Treasurer before liquidation or conversion of the property into money.
You can file a claim online (Search Now, or you can choose to print the Mail-In Claim Form & Instructions (link to claim form in tools section) and mail it to Office of the State Treasurer, Attn: Unclaimed Property, 39 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0039.
The Treasurer will provide a decision in writing within 90 days after the filing of the claim.
A person dissatisfied with the decision or whose claim has not been acted upon within the 90 days may bring an action in the Superior Court of Kennebec County to establish the claim. The action must be filed within 90 days of the decision or, if the claim was not acted upon, within 180 days of filing.
Maine Unclaimed Property Resources
If you're looking for additional information on unclaimed property, we recommend contacting your state's governmental agency that oversees the administration of this area of the law. For help in answering a specific unclaimed property question in Maine, contact the following:
Maine State Treasurer's Office
Unclaimed Property Division
39 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0039
Phone: (207) 624-7470, (888) 283-2808 (toll-free in Maine only)
Fax: (207) 287-2367
Online inquiry: http://www.maine.gov/treasurer/unclaimed_property/contact.html