Section 717.117, Florida Statutes 2003
717.117 Report of unclaimed property.--
(1) Every person holding funds or other property, tangible or intangible, presumed unclaimed and subject to custody as unclaimed property under this chapter shall report to the department on such forms as the department may prescribe by rule. In lieu of forms, the holder may submit the required information via electronic medium as the department may prescribe by rule. The report must include:
(a) Except for traveler's checks and money orders, the name, social security number or taxpayer identification number, and date of birth, if known, and last known address, if any, of each person appearing from the records of the holder to be the owner of any property which is presumed unclaimed and which has a value of $50 or more.
(b) For unclaimed funds which have a value of $50 or more held or owing under any life or endowment insurance policy or annuity contract, the full name, taxpayer identification number or social security number, date of birth, if known, and last known address of the insured or annuitant and of the beneficiary according to records of the insurance company holding or owing the funds.
(c) For all tangible property held in a safe-deposit box or other safekeeping repository, a description of the property and the place where the property is held and may be inspected by the department, and any amounts owing to the holder. Contents of a safe-deposit box or other safekeeping repository which consist of documents or writings of a private nature and which have little or no apparent value shall not be presumed unclaimed.
(d) The nature and identifying number, if any, or description of the property and the amount appearing from the records to be due. Items of value under $50 each may be reported in the aggregate.
(e) The date the property became payable, demandable, or returnable, and the date of the last transaction with the apparent owner with respect to the property.
(f) Any person or business entity holding funds presumed unclaimed and having a total value of $10 or less may file a zero balance report for that reporting period. The balance brought forward to the new reporting period is zero.
(g) Such other information as the department may prescribe by rule as necessary for the administration of this chapter.
(h) Credit balances, customer overpayments, security deposits, and refunds having a value of less than $10 shall not be presumed unclaimed.
(2) If the holder of property presumed unclaimed and subject to custody as unclaimed property is a successor holder or if the holder has changed the holder's name while in possession of the property, the holder shall file with the holder's report all known names and addresses of each prior holder of the property. Compliance with this subsection means the holder exercises reasonable and prudent efforts to determine the names of all prior holders.
(3) The report must be filed before May 1 of each year. Such report shall apply to the preceding calendar year. If such report is not filed on or before the applicable filing date, the holder shall pay to the department a penalty of $10 per day for each day the report is delinquent, but such penalty shall not exceed $500. As necessary for proper administration of this chapter, the department may waive any penalty due with appropriate justification. On written request by any person required to file a report, the department may postpone the reporting date.
(4) Holders of inactive accounts shall use due diligence to locate apparent owners.
(a) When an owner's account becomes inactive, the holder shall conduct at least one search for the apparent owner using due diligence. For purposes of this section, except for banks, credit unions, and state or federal savings associations, an account is inactive if 2 years have transpired after the last owner-initiated account activity, if 2 years have transpired after the expiration date on the instrument or contract, or if 2 years have transpired since first-class mail has been returned as undeliverable. With respect to banks, credit unions, and state or federal savings associations, an account is inactive if 2 years have transpired after the last owner-initiated account activity and first-class mail has been returned as undeliverable or 2 years after the expiration date on the instrument or contract and first-class mail has been returned as undeliverable.
1. Within 180 days after an account becomes inactive, the holder shall conduct a search to locate the apparent owner of the property. The holder may satisfy such requirement by conducting one annual search for the owners of all accounts which have become inactive during the prior year.
2. Within 30 days after receiving updated address information, the holder shall provide notice by telephone or first-class mail to the current address notifying the apparent owner that the holder is in possession of property which is presumed unclaimed and may be remitted to the department. The notice shall also provide the apparent owner with the address or the telephone number of an office where the apparent owner may claim the property or reestablish the inactive account.
(b) The claim of the apparent owner is not barred by the statute of limitations.
(5) Any holder of intangible property may file with the department a petition for determination that the property is unclaimed requesting the department to accept custody of the property. The petition shall state any special circumstances that exist, contain the information required by subsection (2), and show that a diligent search has been made to locate the owner. If the department finds that the proof of diligent search is satisfactory, it shall give notice as provided in s. 717.118 and accept custody of the property.
(6) Upon written request by any entity or person required to file a report, stating such entity's or person's justification for such action, the department may place that entity or person in an inactive status as an unclaimed property "holder."
(7) This section shall not apply to the unclaimed patronage refunds as provided for by contract or through bylaw provisions of entities organized under chapter 425.
(8) Social security numbers and financial account numbers contained in reports required under this section, held by the department, are confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution. Notwithstanding this exemption, social security numbers shall be released, for the limited purpose of locating owners of abandoned or unclaimed property, to an attorney, Florida-certified public accountant, private investigator who is duly licensed in this state, or a private investigative agency licensed under chapter 493 and registered with the department under this chapter. This exemption applies to social security numbers and financial account numbers held by the department before, on, or after the effective date of this exemption. This subsection is subject to the Open Government Sunset Review Act of 1995 in accordance with s. 119.15, and shall stand repealed October 2, 2007, unless reviewed and saved from repeal through reenactment by the Legislature.
History.--s. 18, ch. 87-105; s. 1, ch. 92-169; s. 30, ch. 92-319; s. 1, ch. 93-280; s. 9, ch. 96-301; s. 1771, ch. 97-102; s. 17, ch. 2001-36; s. 1, ch. 2002-64; s. 1888, ch. 2003-261.