Unclaimed Property Alert - May 2016

May 2016

Florida Expands the Authority of the Department to Estimate Unclaimed Property and Changes Domicile of an Unincoprorated Business

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On March 24, 2016, Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) signed into law H.B. 783, which authorizes the Department of Financial Services to estimate unclaimed property where a holder fails to provide requested documents, changes the definition of domicile to mean the state of organization in the case of an unincorporated business association, and specifically includes limited liability company and an association of two or more individuals in the definition of business association.  These changes go into effect July 1, 2016.


Authority to Estimate Unclaimed Property
Prior to the enactment of H.B. 783, Florida law limited the Department’s authority to estimate the unclaimed property of a holder in the event the holder’s available records are insufficient to prepare an unclaimed property report.  Effective July 1, 2016, the Department may also estimate unclaimed property where the holder fails to provide requested records.
Domicile of Unincorporated Association
Prior to the enactment of H.B. 783, Florida law defined “domicile” for an unincorporated business association to mean the principal place of business.  Effective July 1, 2016, the definition means the state where the business association is organized.
Definition of Business Association
Prior to the enactment of H.B. 783, Florida law defined business association to include only a corporation, joint stock company, investment company, business trust, partnership, or association.  Effective July 1, 2016, the definition specifically includes a limited liability company, and an association of two or more individuals.

BDO Insights

  • Florida expanded the authority of the Department to estimate and issue unclaimed property assessments to a holder that chooses not to comply with the Department’s request for records.  This could embolden the Department to be more aggressive, in terms of quantity and quality, with respect to its unclaimed property audit efforts.
  • Unincorporated holders will need to remember that, effective July 1, 2016, unclaimed property should be reported to Florida only if the owner’s last known address is in Florida, or if the holder was formed under Florida law (i.e., not if the holder’s principal place of business is in the state).  This law change should make ascertaining domicile easier and more certain.

BDO’s National Unclaimed Property Practice has successfully assisted many clients in Florida and other states with unclaimed property audits and voluntary disclosures, and can assist you.  Should you have any questions or would like to discuss escheatment, please contact Joseph Carr, Partner & National Unclaimed Property Practice Leader at (312) 616-3946 or jcarr@bdo.com.