Client Question: “What should I do with an uncashed check?”

Many taxpayers might be pleased to see a “You have unclaimed property waiting!” letter from the State of Michigan.  But what are your responsibilities as a business owner with regards to unclaimed property? 

In most cases, unclaimed property takes the form of checks issued from a company to an individual or company which have not been cashed (i.e. claimed).  This is where the state of Michigan steps in.  If, after a certain period of time (abandonment period) the check has not been claimed, it becomes the responsibility of the company who issued the check to remit the unclaimed checks to the state of Michigan unclaimed property division. 

So, how long are you required to hold on to these checks before remitting them to the state of Michigan?  It depends on the nature of the check.  The state has provided a convenient chart here which summarizes the different property types and their related abandonment periods.  For example, you are required to wait one year for payroll checks to be claimed.  If after one year, the payroll check remains unclaimed, you must submit the check to the state of Michigan.  On the other hand, you are required to wait three years for refund checks to be claimed before submitting them to the state of Michigan.  This means you may have some old outstanding checks awhile!

If you have any questions or think you may have unclaimed property which belongs to the state please contact us.  Also, the State has provided a helpful website here.

2 thoughts on “Client Question: “What should I do with an uncashed check?””

  1. Pete Metas says:

    I have a uncashed refund check from the city of Detroit dated April of 1972. Does this accumulate interest or is it as issued?

  2. Steve Wisinski CPA CFE MAFF says:

    That’s pretty interesting to hold on to that for so long! The check is no longer valid and the claim on the refund may no longer be valid either. It definitely won’t accumulate interest so you are out of luck there. I would suggest contacting the City’s department of revenue and/or looking on the State of Michigan’s Unclaimed Property website ( Good luck!

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