Office of the Treasurer: Walker R. Stapleton

The Great Colorado Payback
Frequently Asked Questions

Questions asked by property owners:

Questions asked by holders:

Why is property turned over to the State Treasury?

To protect unclaimed property and return it to its rightful owner(s) or their heirs. Once received by his office, the Treasurer guarantees that the claimants who properly prove rightful ownership will receive their property back, even if the original financial institution or business closes.

For the convenience of the property’s rightful owner(s), people trying to locate forgotten bank accounts or other property in Colorado can find them with just one call.

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How does the State Treasurer find the rightful owners?

The Treasurer publishes the Great Colorado Payback list each year. The list is distributed statewide in newspapers and provided to public libraries, county treasurers’ offices, and state legislators.

The Treasurer also sends a notice directly to thousands of property owners if a new address can be determined.

In addition to making a list of over 400,000 owner names available on line, you can find, the State Treasurer at public events, such as the Colorado State Fair, where a claimant may obtain a claim form on the spot.

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Will the State return my money?

Absolutely! Unclaimed property always belongs to its rightful owner(s). The State Treasury acts only as a custodian of your property. There is no time limit or charge for claiming what is yours.

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Do other states have unclaimed property laws?

Yes. All states now have some type of unclaimed property law and many are similar to Colorado’s. The Treasurer's staff can also help Coloradans claim property reported in other states.

In addition, Internet users can go directly to the web page to search nationwide for lost or forgotten property.

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If my account “sits” collecting interest or dividends, isn’t it still active?

No. Even if interest or dividends are automatically deposited into your account it is not considered active unless you have contact with the financial institution or business. To keep an account active, you must contact the financial institution, insurance company or other business by phone or mail, or just cash or deposit a check in the account. A financial institution or business may even cross-reference an inactive account with an active one to keep it open.

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Will I be able to reactivate my bank account?

Yes, a financial institution or company can always reactivate your account, or pay you directly. The Colorado Treasury will reimburse them upon request and proof that you were paid. This is a policy decision for each company.

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What about my safe deposit box?

Safe Deposit boxes become dormant and reportable to the State Treasury as unclaimed property three years after the rent has expired. You should check with your financial institution about other rules that apply to your safe deposit box. If you or a relative have lost track of a safe deposit box, please contact the Treasurer office after checking with the financial institution. (Note: Some accounts are subject to a five year dormancy period. If in doubt, check with the Great Colorado Payback office.)

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What about my CD or IRA?

Certificates of Deposit (CD) become inactive five years after the date of maturity if your financial institution is unable to find you. Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA), or other long term pay-off accounts are inactive five years after the maturity date, the distribution date or when the owner reaches 72.5 years of age.

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What if an account is never claimed?

Unclaimed property always belongs to its owner even if it is never claimed. All unclaimed property is held in trust until the rightful owner(s) or their heirs claim it. Beginning in July of 2001, all interest earned from the trust will support Colorado Uninsurable Health Insurance Program (CUHIP), now called "Cover Colorado." This program subsidizes the premium payments for individuals with pre-existing conditions or abnormally high insurance expenses who otherwise cannot afford health insurance. In no way does this limit the ability of owners to reclaim their property at any time.

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What is a “finder?" Should I pay one?

A finder is someone who may contact you offering to locate your lost or forgotten property for a fee.Before you sign anything or pay a fee, check with the Great Colorado Payback office to see if your name is on the list. You may also visit the Treasury’s website and check for your name.

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1. Simply contact our office.
2. If your name is on the list, identify yourself and how you are making a claim (e.g. owner, co-owner, heir, or business owner).
3. Please furnish your Social Security Number or business federal tax identification number.
4. You may need to provide your residences for the past five years, previous names and other identifying information.

What Happens then? If the information you provide is a match to a name on the list, the Unclaimed Property Office will send you a claim form to fill out and return. Along with the form, you will need to submit proof of ownership. The claim form you receive will list the required documentation.

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When are reports due to the State?

All companies must report and remit by November 1st. Life insurance companies report and remit by May 1st.

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What is the Dormancy period?

Generally, the dormancy period is 5 years from the date of last customer-initiated contact. The dormancy period for payroll, wages, and salary checks is 1 year.

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Do small businesses have to file a report?

The law includes a small business provision. If the business has annual gross receipts less than $500,000.00, they do not have to report until their aggregated amount of unclaimed property exceeds $3,500.00 or any single item is $250.00 or more.

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Does the state allow electronic reporting?

Colorado strongly encourages the use of an automated reporting program. It is available for download at no charge and runs under most Microsoft operating systems. We accept reports by email, 3.5" disk, 100MB Zip disk, or CD ROM.

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Do IRA’s become unclaimed property?

An IRA becomes unclaimed property three (3) years after the distribution date in most instances. The IRA becomes distributable when the owner becomes 72 ½ years old. Some types of property have a five (5) year dormancy period; if in doubt, contact the Great Colorado Payback office.

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Do I have to report property that does not have a name on it?

Yes, if you don’t have a name then list the owner as “unknown” and furnish as much information as possible from your files. List any addresses, SSN, account numbers, co-owners, or remitters if known.

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Do safe deposit boxes become unclaimed property?

Safe deposit boxes become unclaimed property five (5) years after the rent has expired. We recommend that the boxes are drilled and inventoried as soon as practicable. Do not send the contents to the State Treasury until instructed to do so. They should be listed on your Unclaimed Property Report (Form B), do not assign a value.

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How do I find out what the law requires?

All of the requirements can be found on this web site, however, if there are additional questions, please contact our office during our regular business hours.

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Are Gift Cards Reportable?

Yes. Pursuant to applicable principles of statutory interpretation, the broad provisions of Colorado Statute Section 38-13-103 and 104, C.R.S. (2004) of Colorado's Unclaimed Property Act encompass stored value cards (SVC), including gift cards. Therefore, the unused monetary value of cards held by a card issuer is subject to the provisions of the Act.

Consumer Tips on Giftcards

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