Delaware Strives to Increase Unclaimed Property Compliance by Launching a New VDA Program

Christa DeOliveira Christa DeOliveira, CIA, CCEP

Delaware’s Senate Bill 258 was signed on July 11, 2012 and will remain in effect through July 1, 2015.  This law sets up a new business-friendly Voluntary Disclosure Agreement (VDA) process where companies have a limited window of opportunity to “catch up” on any past due unclaimed property reporting obligations to Delaware.  This law provides for this new program to be administered by Delaware’s Department of State, rather than State Escheator. 

The whole process is outlined from Holder Intake through four distinct phases on a new website. For more information, refer to http://www.delawarevda.com/.  The program offers incentives of shortening the look back period; specifically, the time frame that will be evaluated for outstanding obligations will only go back to 1996 or 1993, depending on when the holder enters the program and completes the process, rather than the customary time frame of evaluating records beginning in 1991 and forward.  If a holder enters into a VDA under this program by June 30, 2013, and either makes full payment or establishes payment arrangements by a year later, then the look back time frame will be shortened to only going back to 1996.  If a holder enters into a VDA by June 30, 2014, and either makes full payment or establishes payment arrangements by a year later, then the look back time frame will be shortened to only going back to 1993.

To participate, holders must submit the Notice of Intent (http://delawarevda.businesscatalyst.com/forms-and-documents/VDA-1.pdf). Audits will not be conducted on holders that have enrolled in this new VDA program, assuming ongoing compliance is maintained and there is no evidence of fraud or willful misconduct.  However it is important to note, any holders currently under audit or that have already received an audit notice are not eligible to participate in this new VDA program, as well as holders that entered into a VDA with the State Escheator as of June 30, 2012.

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