In Vermont, all things relating to unclaimed property are handled by the Unclaimed Property Office of the Vermont State Treasurer.
- 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).
Vermont 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 Vermont property is generally presumed abandoned after three years of inactivity by the owner of the property. 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 Vermont
In Vermont, a holder of property presumed abandoned is required to make a report to the treasurer concerning the property before May 1 of each year and cover the preceding calendar year. All holders reporting more than 10 items must file their reports electronically (http://www.wagers.net/hrs/).
Prior notice to owner. Within 120 days before filing the report, a holder sends written notice that the property is unclaimed to owners of property valued at $50 or more.
Delivery. Along with the report, the holder delivers the abandoned property to the Vermont State Treasurer.
However, the Treasurer may decline to receive property reported or delivered. The holder will be notified within 120 days after filing the report if the treasurer declines the property.
Recordkeeping. A business must generally maintain related records 10 years after the unclaimed property is reported.
Penalties. If a person refuses to deliver property to the Treasurer, the treasurer may bring an action in a court of proper jurisdiction to enforce delivery.
A holder that willfully fails to deliver property to the Treasurer is liable for a penalty of $1,000 per day, up to a maximum of $25,000, plus 25 percent of the value of the property that should have been delivered.
Claiming Unclaimed Property in Vermont
In Vermont, property is generally presumed abandoned after three years of inactivity by the owner of the property. 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. Unclaimed property held by the state may be found by searching the state's website (http://www.vermonttreasurer.gov/unclaimed/ownerSearch.asp).
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 treasurer may file a claim with the Vermont State Treasurer. However, the owner may not claim income or other increments accruing after the property is paid or delivered to the Treasurer.
To start the recovery process, fill out a state claim inquiry form available online (http://www.vermonttreasurer.gov/unclaimed/ownerSearch.asp) after performing a successful search. The Treasurer will contact you with how to proceed from there.
The Treasurer gives a written decision on any claim for which a hearing was held. A person dissatisfied with a decision of the Treasurer may appeal to the Vermont superior court, which may review the claim. The action is filed within six years of the decision or, if the claim was not acted upon, within six years and 90 days of filing the claim.
Vermont 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 Vermont, contact the following:
Unclaimed Property Office
Office of the State Treasurer
109 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05609-6200
Phone: (802) 828-2407, (800) 642-3191 (Vermont only)