Does the State of Arizona Owe You Money? Learn About the Unclaimed Property Unit in AZ

If you suspect that you are owed money in Arizona, you can check with the state’s Unclaimed Property Section. The state is holding more than $300 million in unclaimed property to date that belongs to approximately 1,000,000 citizens. That means that 1 out of 6.5 AZ citizens (or former citizens) are owed money.

Unclaimed property is defined as being an “intangible asset that is held, issued or owed” in the normal proceedings of a holder’s business that hasn’t been claimed by the owner for a certain period of time. All organizations except for the federal government report unclaimed assets to the AZ Dept. of Revenue. The law covers different types of property including cash, land, checks, securities, bank accounts, inheritance money, and so forth.

This program was enacted in 1954. Its purpose is to provide a central system in Arizona for citizens to seek out any lost assets that belong to them. Arizona works hard to ensure that citizens are given the money they are owed. As holders report property, the state publishes the owners’ names online. Staff members involved with the program put a lot of effort into reuniting owners with their property.

Just recently, Governor Janice K. Brewer signed a new bill into law. The Senate Bill 1003 amends numerous abandonment periods (dormancy). Many unclaimed property abandonment periods have been amended in favor of the citizens. For example, prior to 2009, it would take fifteen years for a lost or abandoned traveler’s check to receive “unclaimed” status. Now, it only takes three years.

Nearly $70 million has been given out to date in Arizona, and the majority of the unclaimed funds belong to citizens and businesses in the Phoenix area. The Arizona Department of Revenue provides tools and resources online to both holders and owners to help the reclaiming process go smoothly. The Unclaimed Property Unit claims its purpose is to “efficiently and effectively collect, safeguard, and distribute” the properties to their rightful owners.

Property can be unclaimed for a variety of reasons. Sometimes companies lose track of owners due to relocation. The owner may die and leave money to a descendant who isn’t aware that he or she is owed money. Unclaimed securities and stock splits make up a large portion of unclaimed funds. Also, it isn’t uncommon for properties to be lost due to business mergers.
So, if you suspect that the state of AZ owes you any money, do an online search to see if your name comes up. Fill out a claim report provided by the Unclaimed Property Unit and you will be contacted by the Arizona Dept. of Revenue.

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