Analyzing the Best and Worst State Unclaimed Property Laws

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In recent years, unclaimed property has grown considerably as a revenue stream for many states. Nationwide, state coffers include over $40 billion in unclaimed property—nearly double the $22.8 billion states held just a decade ago, according to a recent report by the Council On State Taxation (COST) – a copy of which will be provided to all attendees of this webinar.

It is against the backdrop of the states’ growing reliance on unclaimed property proceeds that the laws governing enforcement in this area have raised significant concerns for businesses, which must attempt to comply with disparate rules and requirements.

In 90 minutes, Mathew Hedstrom, Ferdinand Hogroian and Kendall Houghton will:
• Provide a general overview of state unclaimed property laws, including explaining what constitutes “unclaimed property”, with a focus on certain property types such as promotional incentives and loyalty rewards 
• Provide an overview how unclaimed property laws evolved to their present state 
• Review the COST Scorecard and highlight key issues 
• Cover recent developments and trends 
• Highlight some of the multistate issues property holders are likely to face in 2014 
• Discuss efforts underway to reform state unclaimed property laws

Educational Objectives: 
• Identify the main purpose behind, and important components of, unclaimed property laws.
• Recognize key characteristics of the Derivative Rights Doctrine
• Determine the rights and responsibilities of true owners, holders, and state governments with regard to unclaimed property
• Present different types of unclaimed property that holders are generally responsible for identifying and reporting to the states
• Pinpoint the various contexts in which unclaimed property issues are likely to arise
• Identify the key unclaimed property issues and how those are being addressed through reform efforts; and
• Specify unclaimed property developments according to state laws and legal cases.



Matthew P. Hedstrom is a senior associate based in the New York office. He focuses his practice on state and local tax planning and controversy and addresses clients’ multistate tax issues, including state income tax apportionment, tax base, business/nonbusiness income determinations, telecommunications and sales/use tax nexus, sourcing and taxability issues. Matthew also advises clients on the state and local tax implications of restructuring, mergers, acquisitions and dispositions, in addition to unclaimed property matters, including multistate compliance, voluntary disclosure, planning, audit defense and legal options. He also has tax controversy experience at the audit, administrative and appeals level in several jurisdictions. 

Matthew is a member and on the executive board of the State and Local Tax Committee of the American Bar Association’s Tax Section.


Ferdinand Hogroian serves as COST’s Legislative Counsel. Ferdinand’s responsibilities at COST include state and federal legislative analysis, monitoring, and advocacy, as well as engagement on a variety of administrative and judicial issues impacting COST’s member companies. Ferdinand has written on SALT topics for numerous publications, including the BNA Multistate Tax Report, and is a frequent speaker at local and national conferences.


Kendall Houghton is a nationally recognized expert whose practice at Alston & Bird focuses on state and local tax planning, tax controversies and unclaimed property/escheat matters. She previously served as general counsel to the Council On State Taxation (COST), where she filed U.S. Supreme Court briefs in cases impacting state taxation of multistate commerce and led a tax policy initiative addressing taxation of Internet transactions. Ms. Houghton has represented clients on a multi-jurisdictional basis with respect to significant tax disputes; negotiated favorable settlements with state and local jurisdictions; developed and advocated state tax policy and legislative positions that benefited client interests; and collaborated with clients to design transactional and organizational structures that have optimized direct and indirect tax burdens. Ms. Houghton also advises clients with respect to unclaimed property/escheat compliance, voluntary disclosure initiatives, planning opportunities, single- and multi-state audit defense, and litigation of state unclaimed property assessments. 

Ms. Houghton is co-author of Bloomberg BNA’s Multistate Tax Management portfolio entitled “Unclaimed Property.” She is a Georgetown University School of Law instructor and a featured speaker at national state tax conferences and schools hosted by COST, TEI, IPT, and the Unclaimed Property Professionals Organization, Georgetown University School of Law and the New York University School of Law.