United States

Washington state unclaimed property amnesty ends Oct. 31


In 2015, Washington state made sweeping changes to its unclaimed property law, including electronic reporting, administrative changes and penalty increases. In order to help holders of unclaimed property come into compliance and waive a number of penalties and interest imposed under the new law, the state has offered an unclaimed property amnesty program.

Unclaimed property holders that did not previously apply for amnesty should consider doing so by Oct. 31, 2017, in order to obtain penalty and interest waivers. New penalties effective July 1, 2017 include:

  • 10 percent penalty for failing to file an unclaimed property report or deliver property under a report by the due date
  • 10 percent penalty when an examination results in an assessment for unpaid amounts or property not delivered
  • 5 percent penalty for not paying property under an assessment by the due date
  • 5 percent penalty of amounts payable or deliverable under the report for failure to pay electronically when required
  • $100-per-day civil penalty (up to $5,000) for willful failure to file a report or send written notification to owners as required

In order to participate in the amnesty program, unclaimed property holders must file a penalty and interest waiver application in addition to a report that includes the property of which the waiver is requesting. Holders must also pay or deliver the liability for the amounts identified by October 31 in order to qualify for the penalty and interest waiver. A holder may not receive a penalty or interest waiver for property previously delivered or reported prior to July 1, 2015. As with most amnesty programs, the state maintains the right to verify amounts reported, paid and delivered.

Unclaimed property amnesties are offered far less often than general state and local tax amnesties. Holders should review their unclaimed property liabilities and consider the generous benefits of the Washington program. 

Catherine Del Re


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