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2015 Legislative Changes to NC Unclaimed Property Laws
which Affect Holder Reporting


House Bill 291 Amended NCGS 116B-55
 
The unclaimed property provision regarding what tangible property financial institutions must turn over to the Unclaimed Property Division (“UPD”) was amended.  In an effort to promote efficiency, public safety, and to ensure certain tangible property ends up in the proper hands, NCGS 116B-55 was amended to allow the Treasurer to direct financial institutions to transfer certain tangible property to the proper local, state or federal authority, rather than to UPD.   If a financial institution acts in accordance with the statute, it will be free of liability for any loss regarding the property, so long as the loss is not due to intentional misconduct. 
 
In order to determine what property should be transferred to another authority, as opposed to UPD, financial institutions are required to complete, verify and return a form prescribed by the Treasurer that provides identifying information, including a good faith estimated value, of each item of property in a safe deposit box.  From the information supplied by the institution, UPD will determine if any of the items fall within any of the following categories:
 
1.  The item poses a potential public safety issue.
  • Example - gun
2.  The item is specifically regulated by another agency or authority.
  • Example - human remains
3.  The item is illegal contraband.
  • Example – illicit drugs
4.  The item does not have any substantial commercial value.
  • Example – birthday card or other non-legal, personal papers
If UPD determines that an item falls within one of the first three categories above, it will inform the institution to place the item in the custody of the appropriate local, state or federal authority.  If UPD determines that an item does not have any substantial commercial value, it will instruct the institution to destroy or otherwise dispose of the item.  Again, if the financial institution acts in conformance with the statute, it shall not be liable for any loss due to the disposal of the item, unless the loss is due to intentional misconduct.
 
The above provision becomes effective October 1, 2015, and therefore applies to the November 1, 2015 reporting season.
 
A full copy of enacted House Bill 291 can be found at the following link:  http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2015/Bills/House/HTML/H291v5.html.
 
House Bill 184 Amended NCGS 116B-54
 
Section 116B-54, which contains the explicit exemptions to the Unclaimed Property Act, was amended.  It now deems merchandise credits as not being abandoned property subject to the Act if the format by which the merchandise credit is issued meets one of the following requirements:
 
1.   It conspicuously states that the merchandise credit does not expire;
2.   It bears no expiration date; or
3.   It states that any stated expiration date is not applicable in North Carolina.

The above provision is effective retroactively to July 1, 2012, and applies to merchandise credits issued on or after July 1, 2012.  This change will not affect the November 2015 reporting session.  The reasons being:  reports due this November 2015 cover abandoned property during the past fiscal year; and, if a merchandise credit was issued on July 2, 2012, the earliest it can be presumed abandoned is July 2, 2015, given the three year dormancy period, and July 2, 2015 is outside of this past fiscal year.
 
A full copy of enacted House Bill 184 can be found at the following link:  http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2015/Bills/House/HTML/H184v7.html.
 
Legislative changes from 2017 are available on our website under Laws and Requirements.