Illinois’ unclaimed property program set records for both the amount of money returned and the number of claims paid during past year, according to Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs.
The I-Cash program returned $280 million to taxpayers from July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022. The program paid 362,352 claims during that time frame.
These records are the result of a complete restructuring of the unclaimed property process. The state treasurer’s office added electronic claims, eliminated red tape that slowed small-money claims and used technology to allow payments to be made without a claim needing to be filed.
“We reached a new high-water mark in reuniting Illinois taxpayers with money that belongs to them,” Frerichs said. “It shows that using common sense to make the unclaimed property program more efficient has achieved real results.”
Unclaimed property refers to money or accounts within financial institutions or companies for which there has been no activity for several years. It includes forgotten bank accounts, unpaid life insurance benefits, the contents of safe deposit boxes and other items.
“As State Treasurer, part of my job is to safeguard unclaimed property and return it to the rightful owners or their heirs. I take this responsibility seriously,” he added.
The previous unclaimed property records were set in FY 2019, when the state treasurer’s office returned $239 million to taxpayers through 236,093 claims. The new records achieved this year are even more impressive considering only 500,000 claims were paid between 2003 and 2014. Frerichs became state treasurer in 2015 and during his administration, I-Cash has returned about $1.5 billion through more than 1.2 million claims. Illinois is a national leader in the unclaimed property returns and is frequently consulted by other states who are reforming their unclaimed property laws, rules and procedures.
Frerichs says that he and his team work hard to inform people about unclaimed property, using different approaches to spread the word. The department takes out newspaper ads across the state twice each year and sends letters to people who have newly reported unclaimed property valued at $100 or more. Frerichs encourages people to check the I-Cash website every six months to find out if there is unclaimed property that should be returned to them. An estimated one-in-four adults in Illinois who search the I-Cash website find unclaimed property, with an average claim of $1,000.
Click here to visit Illinois’ Unclaimed Property Page.
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August 8, 2022 at 06:15PM