Are Tax Surplus Finder Fees Legal?

If you’ve heard that you can make huge finder fees on tax surpluses, you haven’t been led astray. Unlike state-held funds such as old bank accounts, stock dividends, and utility deposits, tax surpluses are often for huge amounts of money and aren’t advertised publicly on the state’s website. They’re the best-kept secret in the “found money” business. But are tax surplus finder fees legal?

If you’ve studied your state’s code, you probably ran across a section titled “Unclaimed Property Act” or something along those lines. In it, it outlines what happens to abandoned property, who holds it, how long they have to hold it, etc. It also outlines restrictions on those acting as money finders – helping claimants find their lost funds, and collecting a fee for their services.

Most states limit what money finders can charge at between 5-15%. This would appear to indicate that the 30-50% tax surplus finder fees are violating the law. Thankfully, not everything is as it seems.

The wording in the state code only applies to those funds held at the state level. If you read the code closely, it will describe what exactly constitutes “abandoned property”, and thus what those 5-15% limits apply to. Tax surplus finder fees ARE legal, because they fall outside of this definition (for a time).

What this means is that restrictions imposed on fees and finders do not (in most states) apply to finders working tax surpluses. Since there is a time when they are not considered “abandoned property,” during that time finder fee limits don’t apply and requirements for who can work the funds also don’t apply.

Anyone who is interested in becoming a money finder can get around these state restrictions by working tax surpluses. Because of the high foreclosure rate, there are a lot of funds to be claimed – and once you get good at tax surpluses, you can move on to the huge surpluses created by mortgage foreclosure and also estates and missing heirs. There’s no end in sight to the creation of these funds, and you can safely and legally collect 30-50% as a finder for these funds.

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