Easy search system, public awareness campaigns lead to uptick in claim submissions

MADISON — The Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) earlier this year received the Unclaimed Property Professionals Organization’s (UPPO) 2023 Members’ Choice State of the Year Award.

This national award honors a state that has an unclaimed property holder-friendly approach across the entire program and staff, including a user-friendly website and accessibility to pertinent compliance information, as well as a commitment to engaging the holder community.

“We are honored to receive this award. It is certainly well deserved,” said DOR Secretary Peter Barca. “Our Technical Services and Tax Operations bureaus, and staff throughout our department place considerable time and effort into ensuring we do everything possible to get these abandoned assets into the hands of their rightful owners.”

DOR’s unclaimed property program and ongoing public awareness campaigns, including national news coverage recently with Good Morning America’s “Show Me the Money” series, has led to an uptick in visitors to the DOR Unclaimed Property Search and Claim page. Claim submissions more than doubled with nearly 1,300 in the final week of June as more people learn how easy it is to search and how likely it is to find money, as one in seven people have unclaimed property. 

Unclaimed property is, in general, any financial asset that hasn’t had owner activity for a period of one year or more and the holder of the asset is not able to contact the owner. Banks, credit unions, insurance companies and other holders of unclaimed property must report it to DOR each year by November 1. By law those assets are to be handed over to DOR, which serves as the state’s custodian of abandoned funds.

Secretary Barca encourages everyone to search at least yearly for unclaimed property on DOR’s Unclaimed Property Search page at www.revenue.wi.gov/ucp.

“Pick a day every year to search,” Secretary Barca said. ” Maybe check every year on your birthday. Or if you know a friend or family member with a birthday coming up, check for their name. You may make their big day even better.”

One in seven people have unclaimed property in their name, and the average unclaimed property claim is worth $1,225.

Anyone may visit DOR’s Unclaimed Property Search at www.revenue.wi.gov/ucp  to search unclaimed property in any name. When someone finds money, making a claim is fast and easy. There is also a live chat option on the page allowing visitors to get help from a DOR unclaimed property specialist.

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