Help Your Clients Understand the New Unclaimed Property Requirement of ‘Negative Reporting’

Help Your Clients Understand the New Unclaimed Property Requirement of ‘Negative Reporting’

After being in communication with the State Treasurer’s Office, the South Carolina Association of CPAs would like our members to know what we have learned regarding state requirements that include ‘Negative Reporting’ on Unclaimed Property Reports.

While CPAs are well aware that businesses are annually required to submit an Unclaimed Property Report to the State Treasurer’s Office by Nov. 1, the majority of business owners tend to be unaware of that deadline and what it means.

With the Nov. 1 deadline fast approaching, the State Treasurer’s Office is trying to make business owners aware of their obligation to be in compliance with the many aspects of an Unclaimed Property Report. SCACPA is glad to help the State Treasurer’s Office in spreading this message to business owners (i.e., the clients of CPAs).

Many CPAs are asking about an additional facet to Unclaimed Property Reporting that was initiated for this year: Even if a business has no unclaimed property to report, businesses are now required to submit a ‘Negative Report’ via the State Treasurer’s Office website.

The State Treasurer’s Office homepage for guidelines to the Unclaimed Properties process can be found here: https://southcarolina.findyourunclaimedproperty.com/app/reporting-guidelines

It includes a link specifically for businesses that are not holding unclaimed property so that they can file a Negative Report: https://southcarolina.findyourunclaimedproperty.com/app/holder-info

At the bottom of this short online form is an entry for “This is a Negative Report” that can be clicked “Yes/No.” Additionally, a “?” icon exists to offer the definition: “A negative report is a way for you to notify the State you do not have any unclaimed property due at this time.”

IMPORTANT: CPAs should advise clients who have failed to report unclaimed property in the past to follow this process: Once past due property is identified, a business can request a voluntary disclosure agreement that allows the business to report past-due property without incurring interest or penalties.

In addition, South Carolina’s Uniform Unclaimed Property Act allows that “On written request by any person required to file a report, the administrator may postpone the reporting date.”

SCACPA shares the goal of the State Treasurer’s Office for all South Carolina businesses to be in full compliance of Unclaimed Property Reporting. The new 2018 requirement for businesses to file a Negative Report will be a helpful step in the years to come in making businesses aware that there is an annual obligation to have an accounting of where their records stand when it comes to Unclaimed Property.

SCACPA hopes this explanation is useful for CPAs to educate clients of the obligations of business owners to be in compliance with South Carolina regulations and to understand this initiative by the State Treasurer’s Office.

For CPAS who need additional information from the State Treasurer’s Office or would like to request one of its representatives to speak at an educational session, call 803.734.6377 or email unclaimed@sto.sc.gov.

The complete text of South Carolina’s “Uniform Unclaimed Property Act” can be found here: https://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/t27c018.php

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