Unclaimed Property Tax Refunds Deposited into County General Fund

City News Service

(CNS) – The Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved the transfer of more than $400,000 in unclaimed property tax overpayments to the Riverside County government treasury, where it will be available to be spent on discretionary needs.

The board voted 5-0 to make the deposit, based on a request by the Office of the Treasurer-Tax Collector.

According to Treasurer-Tax Collector Matt Jennings, a total $442,362 in refunds from 2009 and later tax years, ending in 2017, became available to the county for acquisition based on lack of claimants.

About 560 individuals and businesses had been listed on the tax collector’s website as eligible to receive the funds, in amounts ranging from $11 to $61,000 per person or entity.

The county began circulating notices in May about the funds’ availability and how the people and businesses owed money should go about filing a claim. According to officials, 19 claimants came forward over the summer and received a total of $58,795, shaving the previous unclaimed sum of $501,157 by 12%.

“We get a good address for some of them (recipients). We send them a notice, and they don’t respond,” Jennings told the board. “It’s like they don’t want their own money. It never ceases to amaze me.”

In prior years, the board postponed transfers to give prospective recipients additional time to file a claim. However, beginning in 2017, the office began advertising the funds’ availability via traditional media and county web portals for a full three months before a scheduled vote on whether to deposit the money into the General Fund.

Under state law, the county is only obligated to hold the unclaimed funds for four years before it becomes county property.

Officials said most of the refunds stem from changes in the property tax roll that occurred after a payment had been mailed, resulting in savings to the taxpayer.

When the county sends a refund check and it’s returned, it’s placed in a holding account.

The Office of the Treasurer-Tax Collector maintains an updated list of individuals and businesses eligible for refunds. It can be viewed at http://www.countytreasurer.org/TaxCollector/UnclaimedMoney/PropertyTaxUnclaimedRefund. aspx.

Copyright 2022, City News Service, Inc.

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