Six years ago my husband and I moved to a new house located about a mile away from where we used to live. (Of course, you know this if you read my column last week about the air conditioning system in this home we purchased in 2007.) What we didn’t know was that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Revenue was trying to track us down to send us a tax refund that we’d literally left behind at our old address. Since the U.S. Postal Service only forwards mail for a certain amount of time, we never received those letters letting us know that we had unclaimed funds to, well, claim.
Turns out lots of Americans have left money behind at an old address or in a state where they no longer live, and they have no idea about it. Some estimate there is nearly $42 billion (with a “b”) in unclaimed funds in the United States.
Getting money that is owed to you is free and a completely legitimate endeavor. That is, each state’s Department of Revenue (or some similar department or division having to do with money at the state level) has set up a website where you can go to find out if money is owed to you. This money can include tax refunds, deposits you’d left for a utility service and which you’d never collected when you moved, or interest from a bank account. Sometimes the sites refer to these unclaimed goods as unclaimed property, unclaimed funds, or missing money.
While most states only hold onto this money for about five years, I was able to search the New York site back to 1985 to discover that an aunt of mine had some long-ago unclaimed funds from Con Edison, the power company in New York City. On most sites you can search just by using someone’s last name, which is how I found out my aunt (who has the same last name that I do) had unclaimed funds.
Since PARADE has a national readership, I figured readers across the country would want to know how and where they could go about finding unclaimed funds in their name. That’s why I’ve put together an alphabetical list of each state’s treasury or revenue department that handles unclaimed funds, along with a link to each. This will make it easier for you to check and see if you have any missing money.
- Alabama State Treasury Unclaimed Property Division
- Alaska Department of Revenue Treasury Division
- Arizona Unclaimed Property
- Arkansas Auditor of State Unclaimed Property
- California State Controller’s Office Unclaimed Property
- Colorado Office of State Treasurer
- Connecticut State Treasury Unclaimed Property Owners List
- Delaware Department of Finance, Division of Revenue
- Florida Division of Accounting and Auditing, Bureau of Unclaimed Property
- Georgia Department of Revenue Unclaimed Property Program
- State of Hawaii Department of Budget and Finance Unclaimed Property Program
- Idaho State Treasurer’s Office
- Illinois State Treasurer
- Indiana Attorney General
- Iowa Treasurer of State
- Kansas State Treasurer
- Kentucky State Treasury
- Louisiana Department of the Treasury Unclaimed Property Division
- State of Maine Office of the State Treasurer
- Comptroller of Maryland
- Office of the Treasury and Receiver General of Massachusetts Abandoned Property
- Michigan Department of Treasury
- Minnesota Department of Commerce
- Office of the Mississippi State Treasurer Unclaimed Property
- Missouri State Treasurer–Show Me Money
- Montana Department of Revenue
- Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office Unclaimed Property Division
- State of Nevada Unclaimed Property
- New Hampshire State Treasurer’s Abandoned and Unclaimed Property
- New Jersey Office of the Treasury Unclaimed Property Administration
- State of New Mexico Unclaimed Property
- New York State Office of the State Comptroller Office of Unclaimed Funds
- North Carolina Department of State Treasurer
- North Dakota Department of Trust Lands Unclaimed Property Division
- Ohio Department of Commerce Division of Unclaimed Funds
- Oklahoma State Treasurer Unclaimed Property Program
- Oregon Department of State Lands Unclaimed Property
- Pennsylvania Treasury Unclaimed Property
- State of Rhode Island Office of the General Treasurer
- South Carolina Office of the State Treasurer
- South Dakota Office of the State Treasurer Unclaimed Property
- State of Tennessee Unclaimed Property Division
- Texas Unclaimed Property Search
- Utah State Treasurer Unclaimed Property Division
- Vermont Office of the State Treasurer
- The Virginia Department of the Treasury’s Unclaimed Property Division
- Washington State Department of Revenue
- West Virginia State Treasurer
- Wisconsin State Treasurer
- Wyoming Unclaimed Property
Keep in mind that you never have to pay anyone to get this information. If someone offers to do the work for you for a fee, it’s a scam.
Lest you think searching for unclaimed funds isn’t worth it, let me tell you this: last year a woman in Missouri discovered she had $6.1 million in missing money. Sure, you may find you have unclaimed funds in only the two, three, or four figures, but why wouldn’t you take the time to uncover money that is rightly yours?
That missing money we discovered was at our old address? It ended up totaling only $77.37, but it was nice to have that extra cash in our wallet. And in writing this story, I took the time to search the Pennsylvania site again, and discovered a long-ago insurance payment that my husband never cashed. While the site won’t tell me how much we are owed, you can bet my husband will be filing for his unclaimed property once again!