Join now!   |   Subscribe   |   Pay an Invoice   |   Contact Us   |   Sign In
Unclaimed Property Focus
Blog Home All Blogs
UNCLAIMED PROPERTY FOCUS is a blog written by and for UPPO members, featuring diverse perspectives and insights from unclaimed property practitioners across the U.S. and Canada. We welcome your submissions to Unclaimed Property Focus. Please contact Tim Dressen via tim@uppo.org with any questions about submitting a blog post for consideration and refer to our editorial guidelines when writing your blog post. Disclaimer: Information and/or comments to this blog is not intended as a substitute for legal advice on compliance or reporting requirements.

 

Search all posts for:   

 

Top tags: unclaimed property  Compliance  education  UPPO  due diligence  audits  Delaware  reform  Advocacy  Members  ULC  litigation  UP101  UP Laws  reporting  RUUPA  Uniform Law Commission  Holders Seminar  legislation  Canada  Gift Cards  service providers  uniform unclaimed property act  UPPO Asks  Policy  VDA  Annual Conference  FAQs  Pennsylvania  priority rules 

Common reporting errors in healthcare

Posted By Administration, Thursday, April 21, 2016

Nearly every holder that reports unclaimed property to the states faces certain nuances unique to their industry. Being aware of some of the challenges and potential pitfalls of those nuances can help ensure reports contain fewer errors. During the Industry Focus: Healthcare session at the 2016 UPPO Annual Conference, Leigh Underwood, senior manager of unclaimed property and insurance taxes for HCA Healthcare, shared some of the common reporting errors healthcare providers face.

 

Proper owner

Healthcare providers receive payments from multiple payers on a single account. They include patients, insurance companies, patient guarantors and, if the patient has passed away, estate executors. Doing sufficient due diligence is essential to ensuring the correct property owner is listed on the report.

 

“If you look at the account information and see that a patient’s birth date was seven years ago, you know that person isn’t making the payment,” Underwood says. “So you need to look at the patient account and see who the patient guarantor is.”

 

Social Security numbers vs. federal ID numbers

When remitting property to the state for an insurance company, ensure the field for a Social Security number or federal ID number lists the company’s federal ID number rather than the patient’s Social Security number. It is common for providers to inadvertently include the patient’s Social Security number, but doing so makes matching the account to the insurance company challenging.

 

Insurer’s last known address

The employees who enter information into the provider’s database are sometimes tempted to use shortcuts rather than thoroughly entering each piece of data properly. For example, they may enter “see address on insurance card” in the insurance company address field. Unfortunately, this presents a problem for the person filing the unclaimed property report, who doesn’t have access to patients’ complete records.

 

“Talk to the people who are gathering that information and make sure they understand the need for including complete information in the correct fields,” Underwood says.

 

Multiple patient addresses

If a patient’s record includes both a physical address and a mailing address, it is essential to be aware of any restrictions placed on use of the physical address. Patients may specify that they do not want any correspondence sent to the physical address for privacy reasons. Particularly in the case of providers specializing in sensitive areas such as psychiatric care, patients may not want other people who have access to mail sent to the physical address to know about the care they are receiving.

 

Multiple addresses also increase the chances of an incorrect city, state or ZIP code on the report. Ensure the information from these fields corresponds to the mailing address rather than the physical address.

 

Tools

UPPO offers several tools to help unclaimed property professionals meet their reporting requirements. The Jurisdiction Resource Guide outlines reporting requirements of U.S. and Canadian jurisdictions in one central location. Member forums provide an online medium to discuss reporting challenges and other issues with peers. The govWATCH legislative and regulatory tracking service helps members keep up with pending bills and enacted legislation that could affect reporting requirements.

 

More information

UPPO Jurisdiction Resource Guide

Identify and eliminate common reporting errors

How to avoid the five most common unclaimed property reporting and remitting errors

Tags:  compliance  health care  reporting  unclaimed property 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

State Legislatures Consider Priority Issues

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, March 8, 2016

With most state legislatures currently in session, lawmakers across the country are considering a variety of unclaimed property bills. Several of these bills address UPPO’s priority issues, including dormancy periods, reporting requirements, and states’ use of auditors on a contingent fee basis.

 

Dormancy periods

In Illinois, H.B. 4601 would extend the dormancy period from five years to eight years for certain property types. The bill also specifies that property is not presumed abandoned when certain actions occur:

  • A federal taxable interest statement sent to the owner was not returned;
  • A dividend check was cashed; or
  • Any automatic transaction took place.

H.B. 4601 was referred to the Rules Committee on Jan. 28.

 

The Connecticut House of Representatives is considering a similar bill. H.B. 5533 would extend the dormancy period for certain types of property from three years to seven years. The bill is scheduled for public hearing on March 11.  

 

Contingency fee auditors

Arizona H.B. 2343 and Massachusetts S. 1710 would each prohibit their state revenue departments and other agencies from hiring auditors on a contingency fee basis. In Arizona, the change would apply to unclaimed property, while in Massachusetts, it would apply to any duties related to assessments or taxation.

 

Arizona H.B. 2343 was engrossed in the House on Feb. 17, and Massachusetts S. 1710 is waiting a report out of the State Administration and Oversight Committee. UPPO submitted letters supporting both pieces of legislation.

 

Reporting requirements

The Hawaii Senate is considering S.B. 2619, which specifies that required notification from holders to owners of property valued at $50 or more could occur by mail, email or telephone. If the bill passes, holders would be required to include a statement confirming they have complied with this requirement when reporting unclaimed property to the state.

 

Hawaii S.B. 2619 was reported favorably from Ways and Means Committee on March 3.

 

UPPO continues to monitor all of the pertinent bills affecting members. For the latest information about these and other noteworthy unclaimed property bills, visit UPPO’s govWATCH website.

 

Tags:  audits  dormancy  reporting  unclaimed property 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

UPPO amicus brief to the Supreme Court requests clear state standards

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, September 29, 2015

On Sept. 8, 2015, UPPO submitted an amicus curiae brief (a brief that offers an additional opinion or support to a party involved in the case), to the U.S. Supreme Court, supporting a petition for writ of certiorari (a request made to the U.S. Supreme Court to review a decision made by a lower court) by the plaintiffs in Taylor v. Yee.

 

UPPO’s amicus brief supports the plaintiffs’ claim that, “California’s unclaimed property law violates the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by failing to provide constitutionally adequate notice to owners of property to be escheated, and by failing to take adequate steps to locate and notify property owners before liquidating their property.”

 

The association lays out three arguments in its request to the court:

 

1.   The seizure and liquidation of securities and other property under California’s unclaimed property laws harms property owners. In the case of tax-deferred accounts, the escheat may result in tax penalties.

 

2.   State procedures for notifying owners of escheated property are inadequate and violate due process. Even when previous mail has been returned as undeliverable, California sends its notice to the same address without taking additional steps to find a better address. Taylor argues that California’s unclaimed property law should require California should search its other databases for owners—Department of Motor Vehicle records, for example—to find better addresses for the state-sent notice.

 

3.   State laws requiring the liquidation of securities violate the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause because they fail to provide compensation to property owners. The liquidation of securities deprives owners of the value of appreciation, dividends and interest. States are motivated to liquidate securities quickly to boost revenues and meet budget requirements.

 

Through its amicus curiae brief, UPPO asks the court to establish clear standards the states must follow to notify property owners before seizing and liquidating property, and to define just compensation to be paid to owners whose property is liquidated.

 

"UPPO's leadership made the decision to file this amicus brief because of the importance of the issues, not only for its members and holder community, but for owners. The advocacy agenda of UPPO focuses on ensuring fairness and balance, clarity and the preservation of holders and owners constitutional rights. Filing the brief supports that,” says, Toni Nuernberg, executive director, UPPO.    

 

The U.S. Supreme Court has given California until Oct. 8, 2015, to file a response.

 

More information

Visit UPPO’s advocacy page for additional information on other advocacy initiatives.

 

Tags:  amicus brief  California  reporting  Taylor v. Yee  unclaimed property 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Identify and eliminate common reporting errors

Posted By Administration, Thursday, September 24, 2015

State unclaimed property administrators depend on holder reports to help them find property owners and, more importantly, to ensure they are paying the correct people when receiving claims. Thus, report accuracy is critical. Several states have increased their educational efforts to help holders properly report, but reporting errors continue. Mistakes can result in filing delays, missed deadlines, penalties and—in the worst cases—costly audits. Following are several common reporting errors holders should avoid.

 

Incorrect report timing

Holders sometimes report and remit property before the end of the required dormancy period, according to Phillip Carlton, assistant chief of Florida’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property. Filing outside of the correct reporting cycle is also common, especially in states with less common reporting dates.

 

“We see that a lot because Florida is a spring filing state with the reports and remittance due by April 30,” says Carlton. “The majority of states have a Nov. 1 reporting date. We receive reports at that time from entities outside of Florida. These reports are outside of our reporting cycle and, thus, not in compliance with Florida’s unclaimed property law.”

 

Improper file format

Acceptable file formats vary from state to state. Some still accept paper reports, while others are now exclusively electronic. However, specific electronic report formats also differ. CDs may be OK in one state but rejected in another, for example.

 

“In Wisconsin, we’ve supplied multiple methods for online reporting,” says Erin Egan, director of Wisconsin’s Bureau of Tax Operations. “If you send in paper or CDs, we’ll send them back to you, and you could miss the deadline.”   

 

Invalid codes

Reports sometimes include property type codes that may be accurate in one state but that are not used in the state where the report is being filed. Relationship code errors are also common.

 

“If reporting property with multiple owners, usually the mistake made by the reporting entity involves leaving off the relationship code,” says Carlton. “That’s critically important, because it helps the state determine how we pay people when they come forward to claim an account. There’s a big difference between an ‘and’ account and an ‘or’ account.”

 

Incorrect date of last transaction

The correct date of last transaction is typically either the date the obligation occurred or the last time there was owner contact. However, holders sometimes report the date of the due diligence letter or simply use Dec. 31 of each year as the last transaction date, both which are improper practices.

 

Lack of Social Security number

States often receive reports without Social Security numbers, even for property types that require holders to have that data for tax purposes, such as payroll checks.

 

Bad data formatting

As more states streamline their processes, it’s essential for holders to ensure electronic report data is properly formatted. State efforts to cross-reference tax records and other databases are hindered by information submitted in the wrong fields and other data problems. Common data errors include:

  • Incomplete owner name and incorrect name data in first and last name fields
  • Failure to designate that the owner is a business
  • Last address field used for “do not mail” notes
  • Social Security number placed in the wrong field, compromising its confidentiality
  • One Social Security number duplicated for multiple owners

“It is incredibly helpful if the name and address information is in the correct fields on the report,” says Egan. “There’s a first name and last name field, so make sure you have the first name and last name filled in appropriately. Don’t try to string things together and don’t try to space things out. Don’t put your names in the address field and vice versa.”

 

Carlton advises exercising great caution when working with spreadsheet templates used in creating electronic reports. “You can really impact the accuracy of your report,” he explains. “We’ve seen issues where someone was sorting the template and sorted only one column rather than the whole document. There were well over 20,000 names on the report. The error was discovered by the reporting entity a year and a half after delivering the report to the state, and we had paid claims. Some people received less and others received more than they should have. The state worked with the holder to resolve the issue, with the holder having to make up the difference for those who were paid incorrectly. If they sort, they really need to make sure they’re sorting the entire document.”

 

Tools

UPPO offers several tools to help unclaimed property professionals meet their reporting requirements. The Jurisdiction Resource Guide outlines reporting requirements of U.S. and Canadian jurisdictions in one central location. Member Forums provide an online medium to discuss reporting challenges and other issues with peers. A special State Administrator Forum is designed to facilitate communication between holders and state administrators. 

 

Egan and Carlton recommend reviewing state unclaimed property websites and reporting instruction manuals before filing, and encouraged communication between holders and the states.

 

“A lot of times holders are afraid to contact the states because they think it will lead to an audit,” says Carlton. “That’s far from true. We want the holders to know that if they’re not certain about the reporting requirements, they should contact us. We want them to do it right. We’d rather not have to call them to get a corrected report. Don’t hesitate to contact us.”

 

More information

UPPO Jurisdiction Resource Guide

How to avoid the five most common unclaimed property reporting and remitting errors


Tags:  compliance  reporting  unclaimed property 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Wisconsin Prepares Holders for Reporting System Changes

Posted By Administration, Monday, December 1, 2014

The Wisconsin Department of Revenue (Wisconsin DOR) is planning to launch its new reporting system in 2015. It will begin using an integrated tax processing system referred to as WINPAS, which allows claims and holder reports to be electronically filed, and assist the Wisconsin DOR more efficiently return property to its rightful owner.


On Wednesday, Nov. 26 the Wisconsin DOR sent the following information to holders planning to submit reports during December 2014 to February 2015.


All holder reports must be filed electronically in the NAUPA accepted format. Xerox has posted a new version of the HRS Pro software with a new expiration date. Please download the revised software at this time. The software has been modified to not encrypt the file when you indicate that you will be transmitting it to Wisconsin. There are currently two annual renewal times - December and June. If you are on the December renewal time period, you would be renewing this month prior to sending a holder report. If you are on the June renewal time period, please update to the new version at this time.

Any files that you transmit during December to February (or prior to receiving your secure FTP authorization) may be encrypted by sending the file through a separate NAUPA File Encryption Utility. To encrypt your file, you can download the encryption software available at
http://www.wagers.net/hrs/encryptor.php. The software will ask for a "File to encrypt" and will generate an encrypted file to the "Output Path."  The file in the "Output Path" can be sent using your current process (email, cd, floppy).

If you have questions about this information, please contact Shannon Churchill at (608) 264-4594.

If you report to the Wisconsin DOR, subscribe to the email notifications to stay updated on the anticipated reporting changes.

Tags:  compliance  holder  reporting  unclaimed property  Wisconsin 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 
Page 1 of 2
1  |  2
Membership Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal