March 15, 2005
Revenue Commissioner Bill Corbus said recent coverage on ABC Television's "Good Morning America" prompted a 600 percent jump in hits on the department's searchable database. The GMA report focused attention on unclaimed properties in Alaska and throughout the country.
Rachel Lewis, the department's unclaimed property administrator, said the Alaska program has experienced steady growth. National media coverage is an additional boost, encouraging owners to inquire about their property and for companies to report unclaimed property.
The Alaska property database includes 200,000 names. Some accounts contain only a few dollars, Lewis said, however, many exceed $10,000. The largest current unclaimed property totals $180,498.31 in two accounts.
Commissioner Corbus said that each year the department returns about $3 million in unclaimed property to current and former Alaskans. "Many of the owners have no recollection of an uncashed check for an insurance reimbursement or a long forgotten bank account," he said.
Businesses in Alaska and the Lower 48 are statutorily required to send unclaimed property to the last known address on file or to the state where the transaction occurred.
Commissioner Corbus said the department receives money from many sources. These include inactive bank accounts, uncashed payroll, utility deposits, health insurance reimbursements, life insurance checks and funds from unredeemed gift certificates, stocks, bonds, mutual funds and safe deposit boxes.
Commissioner Corbus added, "All Alaskans benefit from the Unclaimed Property Program. There is never a fee associated with the return of property to an owner or heir." Unclaimed funds are deposited in the state general fund, and earnings on unclaimed property are appropriated to support state services.
Additional information on Alaska unclaimed property is available on the revenue department website: http://www.revenue.state.ak.us/Treasury/UCP. Information on unclaimed properties in other states is on line at http://www.unclaimed.org.
Alaska businesses can call
the Alaska Department of Revenue in Juneau to request information
or report unclaimed property at 907.465.3726.
Source of News Release: