As part of Delaware’s new unclaimed property voluntary disclosure agreement (VDA) program signed into law by Governor Jack Markell in July, the Delaware Secretary of State, Jeffrey W. Bullock, launched a new website today designed to make it easier for Delaware registered companies to come into compliance with their past due unclaimed and abandoned property obligations. The new website, www.DelawareVDA.com, describes who is eligible for the program and how Delaware companies can participate. It also provides companies with the program’s implementing guidelines and has a detailed “How it Works” section explaining the restructured voluntary compliance process.
The new unclaimed property voluntary compliance program will be administered through the Secretary of State’s Office and offers Delaware registered business entities a unique, but narrow-window to come into compliance with Delaware’s unclaimed property laws. Instead of a multi-year audit, the program is designed so that companies can receive a full release of all past due unclaimed property liability in nine months. In addition, for companies who enroll before June 30, 2013, the program will examine the books and records of companies only back to 1996, instead of 1981.
Companies who successfully participate in the new VDA program receive a release of all past due unclaimed property liability for all prior report years. In return, companies agree to continue to fulfill their ongoing responsibility to report and remit annually their Delaware abandoned or unclaimed property.
“After listening to the concerns of many of our corporate constituents, Governor Markell and our legislature created a new, more business-friendly voluntary compliance program where companies can ‘catch up’ on their past due unclaimed property obligations, avoid an audit, avoid interest and penalties, and significantly reduce their liability, all at the same time,” said Secretary Bullock. “We are creating a program that is reliable and cost-effective, and with this new web-site, we are trying to make it as easy as possible for companies to comply.”
Under current law, companies domiciled, or with related entities domiciled, in Delaware are required to report and remit unaddressed or foreign-addressed abandoned and unclaimed property annually to the state. Historically, Delaware has enforced its right to collect this property through audits performed by the Delaware Division of Revenue. Because there is no statute of limitations on a company’s legal obligation to report and remit past due unclaimed property, these audits examined the books and records of a company beginning in 1981, and could also have included significant statutory penalties and interest.
To take advantage of the full benefits of the program, interested companies must enroll by June 30, 2013. All companies enrolling after that but before June 30, 2014 will be allowed to enroll in the program but will have a longer review period back to 1993. Pursuant to the legislation, no companies may enroll in the new voluntary compliance program after June 30, 2014.
To enroll, go to www.DelawareVDA.com to begin Step One of the compliance program’s process.