For Fiscal Year 2016, the top three anticipated streams of revenue included in the Governor of Delaware’s recommended budget (the “Recommended Budget”) were: personal income tax, incorporation revenue and abandoned property.
It probably wouldn’t be a surprise to anyone to know personal property tax income in a state with no sales tax might be relied on heavily. It also probably isn’t a surprise to anyone to hear revenue related to business entities formed or qualified in the State of Delaware (the “State”) might be a major source of revenue for the state since many refer to it as the “Incorporation State”. In fact, services provided by such companies as Incorporating Services, Ltd. (ISL) (included with services rendered directly by the State’s Division of Corporations) bring in an anticipated 25-26₵ of every tax dollar, or 25-26% of all anticipated State revenue.
What probably IS surprising is to learn about the amount of money going to the State’s general fund from abandoned property. In the Recommended Budget, it was anticipated that 17.6% of State revenues for Fiscal Year 2016 would come from escheated funds!
What are abandoned property or escheated funds? According to Merriam-Webster, one definition of the generic term “escheat” is “the reversion of property to the crown in England or to the state in the United States when there are no legal heirs”. The State further defines unclaimed property or escheat to include such things of value as: “dormant checking and savings accounts, uncashed money orders or cashiers [sic] checks, unclaimed insurance benefits, mineral royalty payments, safe depository contents, unused gift certificates, dividends, stocks, bonds, and utility deposits or refunds”.
Why might this be of interest to you? Given such a large amount of funds going to the State from unclaimed – or escheated – property, if you have ever done business in or with an entity formed, qualified or located in the State, it’s possible your name might be on the unclaimed or abandoned property list. If it is, there is a means by which you can claim that property!!
To see if your name is there, check out the State’s “Claim Unclaimed Property” page at https://delaware.findyourunclaimedproperty.com/app/claim-search. I checked my name to no avail but perhaps you might be luckier!
Thanks for reading,
Kathy Jordan retired as VP of Client Services in October 2014 and is our special guest blogger.