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Residents filing electronically make up 41 percent of total

State Treasurer John Perdue’s office continues to develop its online system for unclaimed property returns.

In the most recent fiscal year, those filing electronic claims made up nearly half of all claimants at 41.5 percent. Of 7,997 people who successfully filed claims for lost financial assets, 3,320 did so electronically.

E-claims is tailored for individual claimants with simple cases and relatively small dollar sums to claim. The Treasurer’s Office returned $13.8 million in fiscal 2016, with electronic claims constituting $3.4 million, or 25 percent.

“You can see the trend toward e-claims with smaller amounts,” Unclaimed Property Deputy Treasurer Atkinson said. “It’s 25 percent of the dollar amount returned but 41 percent of the individual claim amount.”

An alternative would be to file a paper claim and place it in the mail. Such claim forms are included in periodic Treasurer’s Office publications inserted in newspapers across the state and are available on the Treasurer’s website, www.wvtreasury.com. The same website is also the destination for anyone filing an e-claim.

Atkinson said the inserts help raise awareness and generate plenty of claims on their own, due to the included paper form. As transacting business online becomes more and more commonplace, residents are choosing to skip paper.

“It could be they saw the ad and filed an e-claim but they are filing e-claims, particularly for the smaller amounts,” Atkinson said.

Treasurer Perdue said he was happy and encouraged by the trend. “We try to meet constituents where they are, which in this day and age often involves an electronic device,” he said. “I’m very proud of the leaps we’ve made in technology. We’ll continue to make progress in that area.”

Atkinson said the full fiscal 2016 profile is the best way to gauge e-claims’ efficiency, because it represents an entire year. “There’s no reason to think that the current numbers aren’t comparable,” Atkinson said.

Unclaimed property is any financial asset from which an individual has become separated. Examples include a forgotten utility deposit, a left-behind paycheck and the contents of an abandoned safe deposit box.

Those entities left with the assets, such as a bank in possession of a safe deposit box, are known as “holders.” They are required by law to turn the assets over to the State Treasury.






The Treasury does not collect state taxes. Visit the The West Virginia State Tax Department for assistance.

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