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Claim forgotten money through state program

  • Written by Briana Gerdeman

Dozens of Woodinville businesses and organizations have money waiting for them to claim.
It sounds almost too good to be true, but businesses can claim their money through the Unclaimed Property Section of the state Department of Revenue.

A recent search turned up 67 claims for Woodinville businesses and organizations that were owed money, including medical and dental offices, auto mechanics, restaurants, sports teams, churches and government organizations such as the police department, water district and fire district. (That includes only businesses with “Woodinville” in the name.)

Erin Lopez, manager of the Unclaimed Property Section, explained that organizations are legally required to turn unclaimed property over to the state if they can’t locate the owner with a certain period of time, usually three years. Common sources of unclaimed property include forgotten or uncashed paychecks, overpayments or refunds, stocks, safe deposit boxes and settlements for lawsuits. Often, the person holding the property can’t find the owner because the owner has moved.

Some of the claims are for small amounts of money, which often come from refunds, dividends for investments or class-action lawsuits, Lopez said.

Of the 67 claims owed to Woodinville businesses, 21 are for more than $100, 14 are for $50 to $100, 20 are for $25 to $50, two are for $10 to $25 and 10 are for less than $10.

Businesses and individuals can find out if they have unclaimed property and file a claim at ucp.dor.wa.gov. They can also claim their property by calling 1-800-435-2429 or by writing to P.O. Box 47477, Olympia, WA 98504.

People claiming property have to prove that it belongs to them, and the type of proof required varies with the type of property. For a paycheck, they would have to provide their name, address and social security number, Lopez said. For an estate, they might have to provide court records.

There’s no time limit to claim unclaimed property.

“We hold it in perpetuity,” Lopez explained. She added, “People should keep checking back every year, because every year in November unclaimed property is reported.”
Last year, over $66 million was returned to its rightful owners, she said.

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