Payments of Unclaimed Moneys and Refund of Moneys Erroneously Received and Covered
Scope & Applicability
This section prescribes procedures that apply to all departments and agencies of the federal government that handle unclaimed moneys belonging to individuals, businesses, or other entities. The unclaimed moneys provisions of this section do not apply to funds held in trust for individual Indians, associations of individual Indians, or for certain Indian corporations. This section also prescribes procedures for making refunds of collections or other receipts erroneously received and covered into the Treasury.
According to the provisions of 31 U.S.C. § 1322, "Payments of unclaimed trust fund amounts and refund of amounts erroneously deposited," each year on September 30, the Secretary of the Treasury will transfer to the Treasury trust fund receipt account "Unclaimed Moneys of Individuals Whose Whereabouts are Unknown" that part of the trust fund account balance named in 31 U.S.C. § 1321 (a)(1)-(82) or an analogous trust fund established under 31 U.S.C. § 1321 (a)(1)-(82) that has been in the fund for more than one year and represents money belonging to individuals whose whereabouts are unknown. Subsequent claims to the transferred funds shall be paid from the account "Unclaimed Moneys of Individuals Whose Whereabouts are Unknown."
31 U.S.C. § 1322 contains additional procedures of authority for non-trust fund related unclaimed moneys and other collections erroneously deposited that are not properly chargeable to another appropriation.
- Responsibility of Agencies to Dispose of Unclaimed Moneys
Agencies must initiate action to clear unclaimed moneys held in their uninvested trust, revolving, and deposit fund accounts for more than one year. Unclaimed moneys are moneys held for rightful owners whose whereabouts are unknown.
Agencies must use account 20X1807, "Refund of Moneys Erroneously Received and Covered (Indefinite)" for expenditures made for collections or other receipts erroneously deposited into Treasury. These collections represent receipts that are not properly chargeable to any other appropriation.
- Review of Agency Unclaimed Money Accounts
Each quarter, agencies must:
- analyze their uninvested trust, revolving, and deposit fund accounts to determine whether they are holding unclaimed moneys that a depositor may receive as a refund,
- return amounts of $25 or more promptly to the depositor without the presentation of a claim,
- transfer to account 20X6133 "Payment of Unclaimed Moneys" amounts of $25 or more that have been held for more than one year and are properly refundable but cannot be refunded because the individual's whereabouts are unknown (see the provisions of Section 3035), and
- transfer to miscellaneous receipts account "1060" unclaimed amounts of less than $25 or amounts of $25 or more held for more than one year and do not meet all provisions of Section 3035.
On a quarterly basis, the Bureau of the Fiscal Service (Fiscal Service) posts the summary-level balance by agency and Agency Location Code (ALC) to account 20X6133 (see Treasury Managed Accounts Reports - Unclaimed Moneys). Fiscal Service does not maintain subsidiary ledgers. The agency must maintain its subsidiary ledgers and supporting documentation to ensure an accurate balance. Agencies may contact Fiscal Service with any discrepancies between their subsidiary ledgers and the balances recorded in 20X6133. Agencies that dispute Treasury's recorded amount must do so within 60 days of the date of Treasury's website publication date and must provide supporting documentation within that timeframe so that Treasury can make appropriate adjustments.
- Procedures for Transferring Unclaimed Moneys
The balance of account 20X6133 represents only moneys that, when claimed, are unequivocally refundable. This account, as originally established, should hold such moneys in trust for rightful owners (as received by government agencies from sources outside the government). Accordingly, items cleared from agency uninvested trust, revolving, and deposit fund accounts for transfer to account 20X6133 must meet all four of the following criteria:
- are in the amount of $25 or more,
- justify a refund, upon claim,
- leave no doubt as to legal ownership of the funds, and
- identify a named individual, business, or other entity with the item.
The support for these criteria will remain as an active record with the agency and serve as the subsidiary ledger for account 20X6133. Transfer to miscellaneous receipt account "1060" amounts that do not meet the above listed criteria. Receipt account "1060" will show the prefix of the transferring agency.
The document clearing unclaimed balances to miscellaneous receipts account "1060" must list individually each amount of $25 or more. Agencies must annotate cleared amounts under $25 cleared with the notation, "Unclaimed balances of less than $25.00," and need only show the total amount. They need not identify individual amounts under $25.
Balance Transfers - Method and Reporting
Agencies making transfers from the uninvested trust, revolving, and deposit fund accounts to accounts "1060" and 20X6133 must report the transfers with a reclassification on the Classifications, Transactions, and Accountability (CTA) report.
- 20X Accounts
Payments Made from Account 20X6133
When an agency requests a refund on an item that remains unclaimed, and the amount remains in that agency's account fund balance, disbursing officers must make payments from account 20X6133. A certifying officer located in the requesting agency authorizes any such payment, validating the claims scheduled for payment. Disbursing officers who process payments from account 20X6133 must report the disbursement made from the account on their CTA report. The document “Treasury Managed Account Reports - Unclaimed Moneys” (see Section 3030) must bear the notation "Unclaimed Balances." When clearing balances, agencies must note on the basic supporting documents that they transferred funds for the individual items to account 20X6133.
Procedures for Using Account 20X1807
When agencies can trace the amount subject to refund as erroneously credited to an appropriation account, the agency should charge the refund claim to that appropriation account whether lapsed, current, reimbursable, or nonreimbursable. Agencies may charge account 20X1807 only when depositing collections into the Treasury as miscellaneous receipts and the refund is not properly chargeable to any other appropriation.
For example, if an agency has statutory authority to retain collections, but mistakenly deposited collections into miscellaneous receipts, the agency should reverse the transaction by debiting miscellaneous receipts and crediting its statutorily authorized account. The debiting of miscellaneous receipts may require a backdated transaction to the applicable prior year. If so, agencies must coordinate with the Office of Management and Budget for proper guidance. Refer to the Treasury Financial Manual bulletin Using the Prior-Year Adjustment Attribute Required by the Governmentwide Treasury Account Symbol Adjusted Trial Balance System (GTAS) for Reporting, Submitting, and Tracking Treasury Backdated Documents.
By contrast, if an agency erroneously collects moneys from a payor and deposits those funds to miscellaneous receipts, but a court subsequently determines that the funds should not have been collected from the payor and orders the U.S. Government to refund the amounts collected, 20X1807 can be utilized for the refund only if the refund cannot be properly chargeable to another appropriation. See the Government Accountability Office's Red Book, which provides helpful guidance regarding refund of moneys erroneously received and covered into the Treasury.
Agencies are responsible for the validity, accuracy, and legality of any charges to account 20X1807 and for retaining documentation of the appropriation account and amount erroneously credited.
Payments from Account 20X1807
Agencies initiating payments from account 20X1807 must ensure the payments are certified by an agency certifying official and then they must report the payments on their CTA report. If the agency wishes to charge account 20X1807 for over $100,000, the agency must provide an official refund request letter signed by the agency's authorized official or Certifying Financial Officer (CFO), to the Agency Reporting and Analysis Division (see Contacts) prior to initiating the withdrawal. Agencies withdrawing any amount from 20X1807 must report this activity on their monthly CTA report.
Internal Audit by Agencies
Agencies must audit accounts 20X6133 and 20X1807. They must include these audits in their internal audit program.
Maintenance of Records
Agencies must maintain adequate records in support of moneys held for rightful owners in account 20X6133. Agencies must retain individual records of all items transferred to the miscellaneous receipts account “1060” according to the agency's retention policy, but in any event, not less than 7 years. In addition, agencies must:
- maintain memorandum accounts for 20X6133 and 20X1807,
- maintain a file of paid disbursement voucher forms with supporting documents for payments made from these accounts, and
- make records available to internal auditors and auditors conducting on-site audits for the General Accountability Office (GAO).
Fiscal Service may, from time to time, request reports on transactions or balances pertaining to accounts 20X6133 and 20X1807.
Federal Financial Management Standards
- Functions and Activities
General Ledger Posting (FFM.090.020)
Receive general ledger account transaction information provided by supporting financial management operations; Post general ledger proprietary, budgetary, and memorandum account transactions; Includes posting manual journal vouchers, adjustments to the general ledger, individual and aggregated transactions from subledgers, and transactions funded, obligated, or expended over multiple years to general ledger accounts that do not close.
Treasury Reporting (FFM.110.010)
Prepare statements of accountability and foreign currency reports, Verify required financial reports can be traced to general ledger account balances; Includes, but is not limited to, Government-wide Treasury Account Symbol Adjusted Trial Balance (GTAS) reporting, transactional posting to the Central Accounting Reporting System (CARS), and financial assistance reporting to USAspending.
- Federal Financial Management System Requirements (FFMSR)
Posting GL Transactions (1.1.2)
Capture GL account transaction information provided by supporting financial management operations (for example, payments, receipts, liabilities, assets, and reimbursable/intragovernmentals) consistent with the USSGL account attributes, account transaction codes, account transaction categories, and account transaction subcategories defined in the TFM.
Post GL proprietary, budgetary, and memorandum account transactions consistent with USSGL account attributes, account transaction codes, account transaction categories, and account transaction subcategories as defined in the TFM.
Close non-fiduciary and fiduciary accounts consistent with USSGL account closing table rules as defined in the TFM.
Maintain ability to post transactions funded, obligated, or expended over multiple years to GL accounts that do not close (for example, undelivered orders–obligations, unpaid; delivered orders–obligations, unpaid; authority outlayed not yet disbursed) consistent with the TFM.
Verifying Traceability (2.3.2)
Verify that GL account balances can be traced to aggregated or discrete transactions in agency programmatic systems and that the aggregated or discrete transactions can be traced to the point of entry and source documents consistent with the TFM.
Verify that financial statements and other required financial and budget reports can be traced to GL account balances as required by OMB Circular No. A-123 and as specified in the TFM.
- Use Cases
- Treasury Financial Manual (TFM)
TFM Volume I Part 6 Chapter 3000; Payments of Unclaimed Moneys and Refund of Moneys Erroneously Received and Covered
- Other Resources
GAO Red Book
Principles of Federal Appropriations Law, also known as the Red Book, is GAO’s multi-volume treatise concerning federal fiscal law. The Red Book provides text discussion with reference to specific legal authorities to illustrate legal principles, their application, and exceptions.
Treasury Managed Account Reports – Unclaimed Moneys
The Unclaimed Moneys Account (20X6133) is one of the 77 Treasury Managed Accounts. The account balances listed below have been identified by agency. The balances are to be reviewed and confirmed to Treasury on a quarterly basis.
- Contact Details
Direct inquiries concerning this section may go to:
Agency Reporting & Analysis Division
Bureau of the Fiscal Service
Department of the Treasury
PO Box 1328
Parkersburg, WV 26106-1328
This page was last updated on August 16, 2023.