The Delaware Secretary of State (SOS) Office on February 20 mailed notices of eligibility to enter the Secretary’s voluntary disclosure agreement (VDA) program. Recipients of these notices that fail to respond within 60 days will be issued an audit notice by the Delaware Department of Finance.
This is not the first time that the SOS Office has mailed notices to unclaimed property holders providing the required opportunity to enter its VDA program before the Department of Finance can initiate an unclaimed property audit. As Delaware continues to expand its enforcement efforts to new companies and industries, unclaimed property holders may be caught unaware of the breadth of their compliance responsibilities and may not understand the benefits and risks of a VDA versus an audit. These factors should be considered before the 60-day window for making a decision expires.
Even if a company has not received an SOS letter (which can be difficult to determine given the complexity of many organizations), the company should consider Delaware unclaimed property compliance options proactively in seeking to mitigate potential liability.
A company’s Delaware footprint is usually not indicative of potential unclaimed property liability, as the state of incorporation claims reporting priority for property that cannot be assigned to another state. Given Delaware’s preeminence as the state of incorporation, Delaware unclaimed property liability can be significant. Further, multistate audits can follow (or be commensurate with) a Delaware unclaimed property audit.