Unclaimed property bill heard in Senate Committee

Legislation that would change the laws regarding unclaimed property in the state was presented this week in the Senate Governmental Affairs and Fiscal Oversight Committee. Senate Bill 995, sponsored by Sen. Scott Sifton, D- St. Louis, would put money back into the hands of Missouri companies and improve the atmosphere for new business development.

“All too often, the unclaimed property that is being reported to the state isn’t truly unclaimed property,” said Tracy King, vice president of governmental affairs for the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “This is not the state’s money, and it is not the state’s job to take account transactions and dump it into the general revenue.”

Unclaimed property has become a revenue source for states because if the state can’t find the rightful owner of the property, it keeps the property. This has made states aggressive in their audit practices.

The Council on State Taxation, a national tax association, began ranking states based on their unclaimed property laws in 2008. While most of the states have made improvements over the years, Missouri has remained in the bottom-ranked states in the country with only Delaware, Mississippi and New York with lower rankings.

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry will continue to advocate for the adoption of this legislation to protect businesses from the unfair taking of money.

“Compliance with Missouri’s unclaimed property laws is a huge, hidden cost of doing business in this state and amending this law would remove an impediment to doing business in Missouri,” King testified. “To maintain our economic competitiveness, Missouri must continue to improve its business climate in a variety of ways, including the administration of unclaimed property.”

The bill is expected to be voted out of committee the week of April 7-11.

For more information on unclaimed property, please contact Tracy King, vice president of governmental affairs for the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, at 573-634-3511 or tking@mochamber.com.

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