Does Washington State have some money you forgot about?
Last year, Washington returned over $74 million to residents, many of them unaware their cash had gone missing. Washington's Department of Revenue Director Vikki Smith says many people don't realize they're missing "$100, $500, or even several thousand dollars" that has become unclaimed property.
Have you been good about updating your address after you move? Say you lived on X Street until 2019 but didn't update your address when you filed your 2020 taxes, where does that money go? It can't go to you since you moved, so it goes to the state's Department of Revenue after a year. They hold on to it as unclaimed property. Washington currently has over $1.4 billion in unclaimed property but some states, like New Jersey, soar over $5 billion.
There's a ton of ways your money can become unclaimed property. Maybe you're a renter but you move out of state and don't give a forwarding address to the landlord or apartment management. The money has to go somewhere and even if it doesn't get to your new home, it's still yours.
How do I find out if I have unclaimed property?
The nice thing about unclaimed property is that the state wants to give it back to you. Given the financial hardships millions of people faced in 2020, the Washington State Department of Revenue wanted to give residents another opportunity to claim their money. Washington had its first annual Unclaimed Property Day in February of 2021. That day has come and gone, but it's still remarkably easy to find out if you can make a claim. Washington has returned over $1 billion in unclaimed property over the years and has a really nice database that you can search. I was feeling lucky this morning and searched my name, but came up empty. It's worth a shot, though, because the state says you have about a one in ten chance of having unclaimed property.