Each year literally billions of dollars go as unclaimed money from federal and state governments, financial institutions and companies no longer generating activity. These can include tax refunds, savings or checking accounts, stocks, uncashed dividends or payroll checks, traveler’s checks, trust distributions, unredeemed money orders or gift certificates (in some states), insurance payments or refunds and life insurance policies, annuities, certificates of deposit, customer overpayments, utility security deposits, mineral royalty payments, and contents of safe deposit boxes.
(For a larger view click here.)
Currently, states, federal agencies and other organizations collectively hold more than $50 billion in unclaimed cash and benefits. CNNMoney
According to CNNMoney, there is about $2 billion in lottery prizes that go unclaimed every year. (January 12, 2016)
The IRS has nearly $1 billion in unclaimed tax refunds from 2012 alone. IRS unclaimed refunds 2012
You might be eligible to claim the earned income tax credit, or EITC, for that tax year when you finally send in the return. For 2012, the credit is worth as much as $5,891. IRS 2012 data
Do you have Unclaimed Money and Live in Massachusetts?
In Massachusetts, It is estimated that 1 out of every 10 people have unclaimed money, also referred to as unclaimed property. The division currently oversees 2.4 billion in unclaimed money, securities and tangible properties. You can click here to search your name. You never know, something could be waiting in the coffers for you.
If you are not from Massachusetts, you can start Your search for your unclaimed property at USA.gov.
Currently, the government does not have one central website for finding unclaimed money by name, Social Security number, or state. To find unclaimed money from the government, you can check a number of sources, such as:
Unclaimed Money By State Search
Search by State – This is a state listing of unclaimed money and property. Simply select the link and follow the prompts.
Unclaimed Back Wages
Unpaid Wages – Do you believe a former employer owes you back wages? Search the Wage and Hour Division’s (WHD’s) database. This database is for workers who may have money waiting to be claimed. The Wage and Hour Division is a under the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).
Veteran’s Affairs or VA Life Insurance Funds – Are you a spouse or child of a deceased veteran? You may be a beneficiary of a life insurance benefit. There is a database for the VA Life Insurance Funds that may have not been paid out. Your veteran spouse may be or have been a current or former policyholder or their beneficiaries. If you are a veteran or a beneficiary of a veteran, research the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for unclaimed insurance money. You should note that this link does not include funds from Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) or Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) policies from 1965 to the present.
Pensions from Former Employers – Did you work for a company that went out of business? You may have unclaimed pension money. Companies that went out of business or ended may have participated in a defined plan.
Currency, Banking, and Investments
- Bank Collapse – Maybe you once were a member of a bank failure. Search the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for unclaimed funds from failed financial institutions.
- Credit Union Failures – Here you will Find unclaimed deposits from credit unions.
- SEC Claims Funds – Did you invest in a business that went belly up? The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) lists scenarios where a company or person owes investors money.
- Mutilated Money – Did you know that the Treasury Department will exchange mutilated or damaged U.S. currency. As long as the currency is not counterfeit, you may exchange valid U.S. currency.
- FHA-Insurance Refunds – Did you have an FHA-insured mortgage? You may be eligible for a refund from HUD, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. You will need your FHA case number (three digits, a dash, and the next six digits to search the HUD database, Here is an example, 051-486583).
- Savings Bonds No Longer Earning Interest – If you have savings bonds issued after 1974, Treasury Hunt allows you to search for any savings bond that is no longer earning interest. This is also know as mature savings bond.
- Calculate the Value – Here you can search for and find the value of a paper savings bond.
- Replace a Savings Bond – Replace a lost, stolen, or destroyed paper savings bond.
Find Money From Outside of the USA?
International Search for Foreign Claims
Foreign Claims – U.S. nationals can find money owed to them from foreign governments after loss of property.
Unclaimed Money Scams: If it is too good to be true, then it probably is.
Beware, scammers will pretend to be the government and offer to send you unclaimed money for a fee. They are clever and will use every trick in the book to get your attention. Their goal is to get you to send them money. However, you will lose much more than just time on the telephone. You can lose your identity. Government agencies will not call you about owing money or unclaimed money or assets.
Word of Advise Regarding Scams
If you don’t see it on the IRS.gov website or USA.gov website, then it is probably a scam. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has tips on how you can avoid scams by imposters who impersonate the government. Don’t let that stop you from researching unclaimed money.
Here at WorthTax, we believe, “nothing ventured, nothing gained.” We also say, better the money in your pocket than someone else’s pocket.” That is why Worthtax is here to help you. If you have any thoughts, questions or concerns, especially about tax fraud, give Alex Franch, BS EA a call at 781.849.7200. Worthtax specializes in tax identity theft, fraud, and recovery. You may also leave a comment below or go to our Facebook or Google Plus pages.
Sources and Resources
- Unclaimed Refund: Are You Leaving Tax Money On The Table?
- Top 12 IRS Tax Scams for 2016
- Taxpayer Identity Theft: IRS v Massachusetts
- Scams: Identify, Avoid Them! Part 2