April 24, 2018
Politics & Opinion
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If You’re Reading This, I May Owe You Money!

Peter Franchot
Peter Franchot's picture
View Bio
May 18, 2017

In Maryland, you don’t have to buy a lottery ticket to win the jackpot.

While my agency has the important but unenviable task of collecting taxes, the comptroller’s office also serves as the legal custodian of Marylanders’ unclaimed properties. That means my staff and I get to deliver good news to a lot of taxpayers each year.

As comptroller, I am committed to reuniting citizens with their lost or misplaced property – which includes funds from dormant checking and savings accounts, uncashed insurance proceeds, jewelry, coins, and other collectibles that are reported to us as unclaimed by banks and other financial institutions after three years. Most people do not notify all financial companies that they do business with when they change addresses or if a relative has passed away, which is typically how it ends up in our possession.

Today, my agency has more than 17 million accounts worth more than $1.5 billion in our custody – all of which are waiting to be claimed by the rightful owners or their heirs. We have a number of accounts that are worth more than $500,000 – with our largest worth more than $1 million – and we have many more that are worth thousands of dollars.

Since I’ve been comptroller, my office has paid out more than $534 million to Marylanders who had unclaimed property accounts in our custody, and we continually work to increase public awareness about the unclaimed property accounts. The fastest and easiest way to see whether you have an unclaimed property account with the state is to visit our online database at https://interactive.marylandtaxes.com/individuals/unclaim. If a payment from an unclaimed property account is owed to you, you can download a form from the website, submit it to my agency and you will receive your payment within a few business days after we receive your claim form.

As a proud board member of the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA), I will continue to look for new ways to reunite every Marylander with their unclaimed property. We already try to locate the owners through newspaper advertising, online promotional videos, news media campaigns, mass mailings, outreach programs and our free online search service. Some unclaimed property items from abandoned safe deposit boxes in our custody are also being auctioned on eBay to obtain the best return in value for the rightful owners.

Last year, we paid out $62.8 million worth of unclaimed property claims to Marylanders, and I hope we can double that total this year. Be sure to visit our online database to see whether you have unclaimed property in my custody, and tell your family members, friends and neighbors as well, so we can deliver more good news to more Marylanders.

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