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Merrin's 'Unclaimed Funds Reform Act' Passes Ohio House

June 17, 2020
Derek Merrin News

State Rep. Derek Merrin’s (R-Monclova) sponsored legislation, the Unclaimed Funds Reform Act, makes substantial changes to how the unclaimed funds system in Ohio operates. The comprehensive legislation earned bipartisan praise and passed unanimously in the Ohio House.

Merrin noted while on the House floor before the bill’s passage that there is about $3 billion in unclaimed funds consisting of over 12 million accounts. Reforms will improve the system’s performance and provide better results for all Ohioans. 

“We are making it easier for people to access and locate their unclaimed funds,” said Merrin. “The bill lightens the burden on businesses from a reporting standpoint and ensures the state properly invests unclaimed funds while holding onto funds. It modernizes the unclaimed funds statute, which has been neglected for decades.”   

The legislation's key points:

  • Creates a simple process to claim a descendant’s unclaimed funds without opening up estates;
  • Declares state tax refunds unclaimed funds;
  • Creates an online platform to report and redeem unclaimed funds;
  • Creates a threshold of $25 for items to be considered unclaimed funds;
  • Requires governments to share information to facilitate locating Ohioans to connect them with their unclaimed funds;
  • Establishes a five-year statute of limitations and caps penalties for businesses reporting funds to encourage compliance and create a better business environment;
  • Grants State Treasurer authority to invest unclaimed funds to ensure proper management and increase investment returns;
  • Makes multiple changes to modernize statute to streamline administration and efficiencies.

The bill now heads over to the Senate for further consideration.