HARTFORD, CT — State coffers got an unexpectedly large boost from unclaimed property revenues, which topped $129 million in the 2017 fiscal year. That’s $27 million, or 26 percent, more than anticipated.
The money included $88 million that was voluntarily reported by financial institutions and other companies, $12 million from examining holder records, and almost $29 million that resulted from the sale of unclaimed securities, according to state Treasurer Denise Nappier.
The value of unclaimed securities, in particular, were almost double what the state had expected, thanks to a strong stock market, Nappier said. Her office had been anticipating unclaimed securities would yield just $16 million.
“That extra revenue will be deposited into the state’s General Fund at just the right time, where it will be put to good use until the rightful owners step forward to claim their share,” Nappier said in a statement. “Every dollar received in unclaimed property is one less dollar from our taxpayers, because the proceeds from unclaimed property help to pay for state programs impacting public health, public safety, education, and consumer protection.”
Unclaimed property includes dormant savings and checking accounts, uncashed checks, stocks, bonds, insurance proceeds, wages or commissions, and other assets. Every year, money that has gone unclaimed for a certain period of time — generally, three years — is turned over to the state Treasury.
Since Nappier took office in 1999, the state has collected more than $1.8 billion in unclaimed property.
But while the state has gained millions of dollars, the treasury also returned $41 million in unclaimed property to 16,670 rightful owners in the 2017 fiscal year, according to Nappier’s office. During her tenure as treasurer, more than $653 million has been returned to 298,141 people, businesses, organizations, and nonprofits.
“We have intensified efforts in recent years to reunite citizens with their money,” Nappier said. “I am happy to say that the treasury is one of the few agencies in government that gives money back to people, and we have millions of dollars waiting to be returned to our citizens.”
The state-maintained website CTBigList.com has about 1.5 million people and organizations that may be entitled to a collective $809 million in unclaimed property. The site has a searchable database and is updated with new names weekly, according to Nappier’s office. Those on the list may claim their property at any time, free of charge.
To see whether they have any unclaimed property, consumers can visit the site, print the claim form, and follow the instructions. Or they can call (800) 833-7318 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Earlier this month the Office of Policy and Management revised its revenue numbers for 2017 upward by about $86.3 million. Combined with efforts to reduce spending, it was able to turn the projected $107.2 million budget deficit into a $35.7 million surplus, which will be deposited into the Rainy Day Fund at the end of September if everything holds steady.
Money for fiscal year 2017 will continue to be collected through the month of August and the books will officially close at the end of September.