Taxes and Interest

We pay interest on items that were originally interest bearing such as bank accounts, utility refunds and certain court funds. Interest is paid for a period of five years from the date we receive the property. The interest rate is set by the New York State Department of Tax and Finance and is updated quarterly. See our Fact Sheet for the current interest rate.

Claims involving securities, such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, may be paid in the form of the original security (if available) or by returning the cash value of the security. In most cases, claims for securities will include any dividends or accruals that have been earned by the security since the date we received it.

We’re required by the federal government to report certain types of payments to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). If your refund paid within a calendar year includes:

  • Interest totaling $600 or more, you’ll receive an IRS 1099-INT form in January following the year your claim was paid.
  • The cash value of securities, you’ll receive an IRS 1099-B form for each security transaction in January following the year your claim was paid.
  • Security cash dividends or dividend reinvestments totaling $600 or more, you’ll receive an IRS 1099-MISC form in January following the year your claim was paid.
  • Interest and accruals earned by Non-Resident Aliens, you’ll receive an IRS 1042-S form.

We'll let you know if you need to complete an IRS W-9 form to confirm your social security number or taxpayer identification number and backup withholding status.

Any questions regarding your tax liability should be addressed with an appropriate tax specialist, especially questions about interest or miscellaneous income you receive as part of your refund(s) that is less than $600.

Foreign Interest Withholding

We must withhold income from non-resident aliens, foreign corporations, foreign partnerships, foreign trusts, foreign estates, foreign governments and international corporations. Thirty percent (30%) of interest and security-related income will be withheld unless there's a tax treaty between the U.S. and your country for tax purposes. To confirm your residency, and possibly qualify for a reduced withholding rate, submit a W-8BEN (individuals) or W-8BEN-E (Entities).