As Tennessee’s treasurer, I am responsible for managing the state’s financial resources and serving Tennesseans as a leader in public financial stewardship. The Tennessee Department of Treasury administers services that vary from college savings, to claims against the state, to the state’s retirement plan. One program under treasury that every Tennessee citizen should be aware of is unclaimed property.
Unclaimed property is money turned over to the state by businesses and organizations unable to locate the rightful owner. The unclaimed property division is a consumer protection program that works to reunite the millions of missing dollars turned over every year with its rightful owners.
In Tennessee, unclaimed property is primarily intangible assets such as utility refunds, uncashed paychecks, credit balances for overpayments, rental deposit refunds, gift certificates, securities, bank accounts, etc. Once businesses have turned over property, the treasury uses various proactive measures to locate the owners. Millions of dollars are turned over to the state each year by businesses.
There is more than $1.1 billion dollars waiting to be claimed in Tennessee, and more than $13.8 million of the missing money is for people and businesses in Montgomery County. The unclaimed property division targeted its current outreach to help ensure Middle Tennesseans in Nashville and surrounding areas know to search our online database for their unclaimed property at claimittn.gov. Our website also includes a link to help you search for missing money in other states.
There is no time limit on claiming the property, and there is never a fee to claim it in Tennessee. Beware of any service asking you to pay them to help you get your money back. If you are ever contacted about unclaimed property in Tennessee and would like to check the validity, visit claimittn.gov.
Last year, the unclaimed property division returned more than 59,000 claims, totaling $62.5 million, to the rightful owners. More than 1,128 claims totaling more than $492,489 were returned to the citizens of Montgomery County.
I understand it may be difficult to believe that you might have overlooked a refund owed to you or overpaid and have a credit balance in your name or forgot to pick up your last paycheck at a job. The hundreds of thousands of names in our database show it happens quite often. This money belongs in Tennesseans’ bank accounts, and the easiest way to get it back to the rightful owners is for people to search our database for their name.
The Tennessee Department of Treasury is part of the legislative branch of Tennessee government. I would like to thank Sen. Bill Powers and Reps. Jason Hodges, Curtis Johnson and Jay Reedy for supporting the unclaimed property program, giving treasury the ability to put money back into the hands of Tennesseans. The support of the legislators allowed us to increase efficiency and return more money to your community.
Anyone can see if he or she is owed any missing money by searching their name at claimittn.gov, and may file a claim online if they find unclaimed property belonging to them. As money is turned over each year, we recommend that you search the site at least once per year. I hope you take a moment to check your name today.
David Lillard is Tennessee’s treasurer.