Unclaimed Property: Defending Against Aggressive State Audit, Enforcement Tactics

Daily Tax Report: State provides authoritative coverage of state and local tax developments across the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, tracking legislative and regulatory updates,...

 Industry experts will discuss recent developments in unclaimed property law, including the rise of controversial audit practices used by some states to enforce their escheatment provisions in an April 26 Bloomberg BNA Webinar.

As states struggle to close budget gaps, many have expanded the types of property subject to escheat laws and are aggressively pursuing unclaimed property audits. Enforcement practices such as the hiring of contingent-fee auditors and the use of certain estimation methodologies have created situations in which a business that is a “holder” of unclaimed property could end up paying a state more than is actually owed.

Adding to the compliance headache is the fact that each state's adoption of its own unclaimed property laws, which makes it difficult for multistate companies to comply with the resulting patchwork of non-uniform requirements.

But recently, a federal court struck down one state's bid to require holders to remit amounts representing unredeemed gift cards, based on place of purchase—even when long standing priority rules dictated that holders turn the funds over to a different jurisdiction.

Developments and Insights

In the 90-minute webinar from 12:30-2pm ET, April 26, Ethan Millar, with Alston & Bird LLP and Cathleen Bucholtz, with True Partners Consulting will analyze recent developments and offer insights into how holders of unclaimed property could develop an approach toward defending themselves against aggressive practices.

The webinar will:

  • explain what constitutes “unclaimed property,” with a particular focus on controversial types of property such as gift cards, rebate cards and other promotional incentives;
  • cover recent developments and trends;
  • provide an overview how unclaimed property laws have evolved;
  • describe their current application across the 50 states;
  • highlight some of the multistate issues property holders are likely to face;
  • alert attendees to potential structuring options to reduce state unclaimed property liabilities; and
  • discuss reform efforts.

About the Speakers

Ethan Millar's practice focuses on multistate tax (primarily income/franchise, sales/use and real property transfers taxes, with a particular emphasis on California tax issues) and unclaimed property law, and he represents major companies across the United States in audits, administrative appeals, litigation, and business transactions, including mergers, acquisitions, restructurings, dispositions, joint ventures and securities offerings. He currently chairs both the subcommittee on State and Local Tax and the subcommittee on Unclaimed Property of the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association.

Cathleen Bucholtz is the Regional Managing Director of True Partners Consulting's Los Angeles, Denver, and Dallas offices and the firm's National Unclaimed Property Practice Leader. Cathleen has over 19 years of experience in both unclaimed property and sales and use tax consulting, including the development of process improvement techniques and other consulting services, including audit defense, comprehensive diagnostic reviews, statistical sampling, training client personnel, and identification of planning opportunities to help increase clients' net income.

Attendees who fulfill certain requirements will be eligible to receive a CPE credit. Register online. Or, call 1-800-372-1033 and choose option 6, then option 1, and refer to the date and title of the webinar. Lines are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET, excluding most federal holidays. Once you've registered, send your e-mail questions to mcarrington@bna.com and they will be submitted to the presenter(s) for consideration.

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