Every year, millions of dollars go unclaimed by their rightful owners. Whether it’s unclaimed funds from failed or merged banks, uncollected tax refunds, pensions from bankrupt businesses or simply unclaimed property, people often just lose track of the money and property that’s due them, or they may feel like they have no recourse to recover it.
As a small business owner, you should take advantage of government sites for unclaimed property. If you monitor the sites on a regular basis, you may find unclaimed property that’s yours. As you review government websites for unclaimed property, you should gather a few things together:
- List all of the banks, credit unions and any other institutions that you’ve held your money in over the last decade.
- Write down any company, whether insolvent or not, that you have been promised pension benefits from that you aren’t receiving.
- Review your tax records to make sure you’ve received all refunds due you so you can retrieve your government unclaimed money if it’s due you.
- Create a list of any financial property you’ve lost, if you know of any, as well as the contents of any safety deposit boxes, so you can check unclaimed property sites.
- Gather any currency or bonds you have that are damaged or mutilated beyond use.
Check for unclaimed property from failed financial institutionsWhen a financial institution fails, depositors may overlook getting their insured deposit back, may lose or misplace a check or may have the wrong information on file so the institution isn't able to contact them.
FDIC for unclaimed deposits in your name. You’ll also need to have the name or location of the failed institution. Print off and mail in the FDIC Claimant Verification form if you do find your unclaimed property through the search.
See if you have unclaimed credit union depositsWhen a credit union is dissolved, its funds go to the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), who then attempts to find the rightful owner. However, the owners aren't always found.
NCUA’s listing of unclaimed deposits, which includes the depositors’ names, as well as the name and location of the defunct credit union. If you’re listed, download the claim form, complete it and mail it to the NCUA.
Get the pension funds due youIf a private company you worked for liquidates its pension plan, the pension funds generally go to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), who then locates and reimburses missing participants.
Search for unclaimed pension benefits at the PBGC website. You’ll need to enter the company name and state in addition to your name. Contact the PBGC if your name is on the list.
Claim your uncollected tax refundsOne of the largest sources of government unclaimed money is uncollected tax refunds, usually caused because the IRS doesn't have your latest address.
If you suspect you have an uncollected tax refund from last year, update your address with the IRS immediately using the IRS Change of Address, Form 8822. The IRS will send out your refund as soon as they receive the form, if you have a refund coming to you.
Find unclaimed property on the state levelEven if you find no unclaimed funds or property searching federal web sites, you may find something on the state level.
Search for unclaimed property in individual states at NAUPA or Missing Money. Both provide links and contact information for individual state agencies.
Get reimbursed for damaged money and bondsThe Federal government will replace currency or bonds that are too damaged to use.
The Federal government will replace currency or bonds that are too damaged to use. Review the guidelines at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing website for mailing damaged currency to the Department of the Treasury. For damaged bonds, complete form PD F 1048, which is available from the Department of the Treasury.
- In addition to government web sites for unclaimed property, you should also check out commercial unclaimed property sites, such as the National Unclaimed Money Database.
- Check for deceased relatives' property, as well. You may be able to claim it.