Author Archives: Michael Giovannini

Michael Giovannini
Michael is a senior associate in the firm's State & Local Tax Group, focusing his practice on advising clients and providing practical planning services with respect to various state and local tax and unclaimed property issues.  Read More

Unclaimed Property ADVISORY: Illinois General Assembly Stealthily Enacts Version of Revised Uniform Unclaimed Property Act

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Illinois passed its first budget in two years – and snuck in (a modified version of) the 2016 Revised Uniform Unclaimed Property Act. Our Unclaimed Property Team unearths the Act’s numerous provisions, many of them unfavorable for holders. Eliminating the B2B exemption Other variations from the uniform Act and current Illinois law Potential legal hurdles Read the advisory here. [...]Read more

Illinois Stealthily Enacts Version of RUUPA as Part of Budget Bill

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This week, the Illinois General Assembly enacted budget legislation (SB 9) to much fanfare.  Although most news stories will likely focus on the fact that the state has a budget for the first time in several years, the real breaking news in the unclaimed property world is that a version of the 2016 Revised Uniform Unclaimed Property Act ("RUUPA") was included as part of SB 9.  A RUUPA bill (HB 2603) had previously been introduced and considered in the legislature but had been stagnant since March.  However, Illinois' version of RUUPA is enacted and effective on January 1, 2018, seemingly [...]Read more

Unclaimed Property ADVISORY: Sailing the Sea Change of Delaware’s New Escheat Law

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Now that Delaware's rewrite of its escheats laws is enshrined in Delaware law, holders will soon be faced with making some important decisions about audits and the VDA program. Our Unclaimed Property Group takes stock of what it means for holders going forward. Read the full advisory here. [...]Read more

Delaware’s Unclaimed Property Overhaul Legislation Awaits the Governor’s Signature

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Exactly two weeks after introduction, Delaware’s major unclaimed property overhaul bill – SB 13 – passed both the Senate and the House of Delaware’s General Assembly on January 26.  The bill is now on the desk of newly inaugurated Governor Carney and is awaiting signature.  We have previously addressed some of the significant features of SB 13 here.  To summarize, SB 13 represents a complete rewrite of the Delaware Escheats Law in reaction to the Temple-Inland decision and other recent unclaimed property developments.  Although SB 13 is inspired by and based in part on the new 2016 [...]Read more

Unclaimed Property ADVISORY: Delaware Moves to Revamp Its Unclaimed Property Law

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Our Unclaimed Property Group explores legislation introduced in the state Senate that if enacted, would prompt a sea change in Delaware law governing abandoned and unclaimed property.

Read the full advisory here.

New York Looks to Further Restrict Gift Card Practices

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In December, we wrote about a new gift card law in New York that took effect on Christmas day (http://www.alston.com/advisories/ny-gift-card-legislation/), which was enacted by Senate Bill S. 4771-E. Under that now-effective law: Gift card issuers are prohibited from charging a service fee before the twenty-fifth month of dormancy, and any service fees that are applied after this time must be waived and put back on the card if the card is used within three years of the issue date. No gift card may have an expiration date of earlier than five years from the date the card was issued or the [...]Read more

California Updates Unclaimed Property Law to Recognize Electronic Recurring Bank Account Activity

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On September 22, California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 2258 into law, which revises California’s Unclaimed Property Law (UPL) to expressly recognize that certain electronic recurring transactions constitute “owner-generated activity” that would prevent accounts held by a banking or financial organization from being considered presumed abandoned.  As described by the bill’s author, AB 2258 effectuates a “simple modernization of the statute,” which will “eliminate unnecessary escheatment notices to be sent from the bank to the account holder that require the account holder to affirm [...]Read more

Plains All American Case Dismissed – Federal Court Determines Holder Must Develop Factual Record Before Challenging Kelmar Unclaimed Property Audit

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On August 16, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware granted Kelmar’s and Delaware’s motions to dismiss in Plains All American Pipeline, L.P., v. Cook, et al.[1]  The court determined that the Plaintiff (1) lacked standing to sue Kelmar, (2) had not demonstrated ripeness of declaratory relief against Delaware for any of its claims, except equal protection, and (3) failed to state a cause of action regarding its equal protection claim. Background In 2014, Delaware, through its third-party auditor, Kelmar, initiated an unclaimed property audit of Plains All American [...]Read more

Pennsylvania Amends IRA Provisions of Unclaimed Property Law and Adds Due Diligence Requirements

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The Pennsylvania General Assembly passed HB 1605 on July 13, 2016, and it was approved by Governor Tom Wolf on the same day.  Contained within this omnibus finance bill are two sections that significantly amend Pennsylvania's unclaimed property law: section 4, which revises the dormancy standard applicable to IRAs; and section 5, which imposes formal due diligence requirements on holders. In particular, section 4 of HB 1605 revises section 1301.8 of Pennsylvania's unclaimed property law to provide that the dormancy period for a retirement account is triggered when the holder “has lost [...]Read more

North Carolina Appellate Court Affirms that Taxation of Trust’s Income is Unconstitutional

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On July 5, 2016, the Court of Appeals of North Carolina affirmed the 2015 decision by the superior court in The Kimberley Rice Kaestner 1992 Family Trust v. N.C. Dep't of Revenue, which held that North Carolina was constitutionally prohibited from taxing the income of the plaintiff trust.  Essentially, the state asserted jurisdiction to tax the trust's income based solely on the fact that the beneficiaries of the trust were North Carolina residents (the trust had no other connection with the state).  The superior court rejected this assertion, concluding that the state could not impose the tax [...]Read more