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New York State Accounting System User Procedures Manual

Volume Name
CONTROLS AND SPECIAL PROCEDURES
Volume
XI
Date
04/18/06
Section Name
Uncashed State Checks
Section
7.0500


State law was amended in 2003 to require agencies to transfer the proceeds of uncashed checks to the New York State Abandoned Property Fund - if the check remains uncashed for one year from the date of issuance. This section of the manual describes the procedures related to uncashed checks issued by the State, including checks drawn on agency cash advance and sole custody accounts. Checks issued by the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) and/or the Commissioner of Taxation & Finance are the responsibility of OSC and/or the Commissioner of Taxation & Finance.  OSC & the Division of Treasury will ensure compliance for checks (i.e. vendor payments, payroll checks, refunds, etc.) issued on their respective custodial accounts, such as the State's General Checking Account, the Comptroller's Refund Account and the Income Tax Special Refund Account.  Agencies are responsible for uncashed checks issued on their bank accounts (i.e. sole custody accounts .)  The instructions below are provided to assist state agencies that have checks outstanding for more than one year on their bank accounts.

Section 102 of the State Finance Law and Section 1315 of the Abandoned Property Law, as amended by Chapter 62, Part P, of the Laws of 2003, requires that State checks that remain uncashed after one year must be written off and the proceeds of all unpaid checks be deposited into the New York State Abandoned Property Fund. The proceeds of all uncashed NYS checks are required to be transferred to the State Comptroller's Office of Unclaimed Funds on an annual basis by March 10 th .

Chapter 62 of the Laws of 2003 also amended the Abandoned Property Law by adding Section 1422 to require State agencies to perform certain payee notification requirements. For checks over $20 , State agencies are required to attempt to notify payees:

  • By first class mail, no less than 90 days prior to March 10 th that a check issued to them remains uncashed one year after the date of issuance and the proceeds of the uncashed check will be turned over to the Abandoned Property Fund unless the check is cashed or a claim is made to the issuing agency for a replacement check (i.e. to replace a check that is lost). First class mailings are not required where the agency does not have an address for the owner, or the agency can demonstrate that the only address on file is not the payee's current address.
  • In addition, for any check with an amount greater than $1,000 a follow-up 'certified' mailing - return receipt requested, not less than 60 days prior to March 10 th , must be sent to the payee. Certified mailings are not required if the property is claimed by the owner or if the first class mailing is returned as undeliverable by the Post Office.

Section 1422 requires that the mailings advise the payee that the uncashed check will be reported as abandoned property and will be remitted to the State Comptroller unless the check is cashed or claimed by the payee before March 10 th . A sample letter used by OSC for its' sole custody accounts is appended to these procedures.

The State Comptroller's Office has determined that the above noted provisions of law pertain only to 'earned' payments for goods or services. For example, many agencies issue advance account checks for witness fees for individuals subpoenaed to testify. If the witness fails to appear, or if subsequent to the issuance of the subpoena, the witness' appearance is excused, the liability of the State and the issued check is canceled. Similarly, a partial payment check issued to secure future goods or services (e.g. deposit placed with an order) must be voided if the order cannot be filled or is canceled for any reason. The proceeds of cancellations, due to ' unearned ' payments, are NOT subject to the uncashed check reporting requirements outlined in these procedures. However, the proceeds of the check cancellations (voids) must be returned to the State Treasury following the Refund of Appropriation Expenditure procedures outlined in New York State Accounting System User Procedure Manual , Vol. IV, Section 5.

Reporting requirements can be obtained by going to the OSC's web site (www.osc.state.ny.us) and selecting "Unclaimed Funds" and "Reporting Unclaimed Funds to New York State ".

All claims related to joint or sole custody checks written off should be referred to the Office of Unclaimed Funds.  For those with internet access, further direction for claiming funds held by the State can be found by going to OSC's website (www.osc.state.ny.us) and selecting "Unclaimed Funds" and "How to File a Claim for Funds Held by the State".

Questions on the reporting process may be directed to the Office of Unclaimed Funds at 1-800-221-9311 or by e-mail to NYSOUF@osc.state.ny.us .

Sample Letters - Notification of Uncashed Check and Second Letter Sent with Replacement Check