Missing tax refund or lost bank account? Here’s how to get your money back

Personal Finance

TAMPA (WFLA) – Is your wallet feeling a little light due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic? Do you think you may still have some money owed to you and are a Florida resident?

If so, you may be in luck.

The State of Florida has a way for residents to check if they have any unclaimed money or property owed to them and a way to file a claim to receive it.

Whether it’s a tax refund, money in an old bank account, or other financial assets, you can start your search at Florida’s Treasure Hunt.

Sometimes the unclaimed property belongs to someone, but businesses or banks have trouble finding them.

Not to worry, the state requires the Florida Department of Financial Services, Division of Unclaimed Property to hold the assets for a set amount of time, usually for five years.

According to the office of the state’s Chief Financial Officer, one in five Floridians has unclaimed money, with claimable accounts valued at $2 billion in the state. The site says $328 million was paid out to state residents in 2020, and reclaiming your lost money is cost-free.

Finding out if there’s some hidden treasure waiting for you is easy. Here’s how you do it:

First, go to the Florida Treasure Hunt site. Then, click “Start Your Search.”

(Source: Florida Treasure Hunt)

Start your search with a name or a business. You can find more specific results faster by using a city, ZIP code, and middle name, in addition to first and last names, or business names.

Just make sure when you’re filling the form out that you let the site know you’re not a robot.

(Source: Florida Treasure Hunt)

If you don’t have anything to claim, you’ll get a screen telling you there were no results. If you still think you have money you’re missing, you can also call a toll-free number for in the state, or another if you’re no longer in Florida.

(Source: Florida Treasure Hunt)

If you did find some misplaced or forgotten funds, and fill out the paperwork, but don’t hear back for a while, you can check the status of your claim online through another form on the Florida Treasure Hunt homepage.

(Source: Florida Treasure Hunt)

When you fill out the claim, you should be given a claim number. Plugging that into the search will give you a quick status check on how soon you could see that missing money.

What happens to unclaimed money?

If you’ve got money being held by the state and have no idea it’s there, you’re probably wondering what’s happening to it.

Businesses are supposed to try and find the owner of unclaimed property, but sometimes they can’t find them. Instead, they’ll report the property and the owner’s name and last known address to the Department of Financial Services. There, the state makes sure it’s taken care of, but they don’t claim the property, it still belongs to you.

Unclaimed funds are deposited into the State School Fund and support public schools. If you find out you’ve got some money waiting, and know the original amount, you can always claim it later, at no additional cost, and you’ll get the full amount back.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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