Treasurer Stacy Garrity Announces Results of Spring Unclaimed Property Auction

Treasurer Stacy Garrity announced today that Treasury’s Spring unclaimed property auction brought in more than $262,000. All proceeds are carefully logged by Treasury and will remain available for the rightful owners to claim no matter how much time passes.

“This is another tremendously successful auction, and I’m pleased that it generated such an incredible result,” Treasurer Garrity said. “We work for at least three years to find the rightful owners of every item that comes to Treasury’s vault. But eventually, we have to auction items to make room in our vault for incoming property. All auction proceeds are held in perpetuity at Treasury for a rightful owner to claim anytime – whether that’s tomorrow, a few months from now, or many years down the road.”

Nearly 4,400 items were sold during the auction that took place online in March this year. Treasury partners with Pook & Pook, Inc., of Downingtown for auctioneer and appraisal services.

The top price for an item was $18,000 for 27.22 ounces of palladium (a form of platinum). Other high-price items included:

  • 18K yellow gold bracelet with 14K yellow gold charms sold for $4,600
  • 14K white gold ring with an old European cut diamond sold for $3,200
  • 18K yellow gold wristwatch, with .40 ctw of round brilliant cut diamonds sold for $3,000
  • Platinum ring with 1.71 carat diamond sold for $3,000

“This was another successful collaboration between Pook & Pook, Inc., Auctioneers and Appraisers and the Pennsylvania Treasury,” said Deidre Pook Magarelli, President of Pook & Pook. “Across the board, in all categories of coins and jewelry, we saw strong prices. The Pennsylvania Treasury puts forth a heroic effort each year to reunite unclaimed property with its original owners, but, when that’s not possible, they make sure the monetary compensation for that unclaimed property is available to those individuals in perpetuity. It’s a huge undertaking, and Pook & Pook appreciates playing a small part in this important process.”

Treasury expects to net $262,840.16 after Pook & Pook receives its 12 percent commission of the full auction total, $298,682.00. The proceeds from the auction were nearly $80,000 over the high estimate.

Items that are not sold at auction, or those not paid for by a winning bidder, are returned to Treasury to be listed in future auctions.

Treasury receives unclaimed property from businesses if the property has been dormant for three years. Tangible property, most often the contents of forgotten safe deposit boxes, is stored in Treasury’s vault for another three years while Treasury tries to find the rightful owners. Treasury never auctions military decorations or memorabilia.

More than $4.5 billion in unclaimed property is available to be claimed. More than one in ten Pennsylvanians is owed unclaimed property, and the average claim is worth about $1,600.

To learn more about unclaimed property or to search Treasury’s database, visit patreasury.gov/unclaimed-property.

Treasurer Stacy Garrity Announces Property Tax/Rent Rebate Payments

Treasurer Stacy Garrity announced that approximately 442,000 payments totaling about $266 million were disbursed today to Pennsylvanians who have been approved for this year’s Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program.

“This is an all-time record for day one of the Property Tax / Rent Rebate Program,” Treasurer Garrity said. “More people than ever before are eligible for rebates, thanks to great work by the General Assembly and the Governor to expand the program. This money can make a huge difference – especially for the many Pennsylvanians who are struggling to make ends meet, and I encourage everyone who is eligible to apply for their rebate. Treasury will continue to make payments on a rolling basis as we receive approvals from the Department of Revenue.”

Of the payments sent today, 56 percent were processed via direct deposit, while 44 percent were paper checks mailed via the U.S. Postal Service.

The General Assembly and the Governor expanded the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program this year to increase household income limits for rebates to $45,000 for homeowners and renters (up from $35,000 and $15,000, respectively). Claimants may exclude half of their Social Security income. The maximum standard rebate is now $1,000 (up from $650).

Payments will continue to be processed as applications are approved by the Department of Revenue and received by Treasury. The deadline to apply has been extended to December 31, 2024.

The Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program benefits Pennsylvanians age 65 and older, widows and widowers age 50 and older, and people with disabilities age 18 and older.

For more information about eligibility and how to apply, Pennsylvania residents can contact their state legislators, visit the Department of Revenue’s website or call 888-222-9190. Applications can be submitted online with Revenue’s myPATH system.

Those who have already applied can check the status of their rebate by clicking on the “Where’s My Rebate?” tool available on this page.

Treasurer Stacy Garrity Announces PA ABLE Website

Treasurer Stacy Garrity today announced the launch of the redesigned PA ABLE Savings Program website, paable.gov. The new website makes it easier for individuals to learn about the many benefits of PA ABLE, open a new account, and access their existing PA ABLE account.

“With the launch of our new PA ABLE website, we’re making it easier than ever for people to learn about, and access, this amazing program,” Garrity said. “Making sure every Pennsylvanian with a disability knows about PA ABLE is the first step to helping them live more independently. Revamping our resources to make them as accessible as possible is just one way we’re helping more Pennsylvanians save for a secure future.”

The new paable.gov was built from the ground up. It streamlines navigation and content, integrates frequently asked questions within relevant pages, and includes changes that make it easier and more convenient for account owners and prospective account owners to find the information they need about PA ABLE.

It also gives users the ability to easily translate every page on the new site to Spanish. This feature is powered by Google Translate.

More than 9,000 PA ABLE accounts are open with over $120 million in assets.

PA ABLE gives individuals with qualifying disabilities a tax-free way to save and invest without impacting important benefits. All federal benefits are protected, including Medical Assistance (Medicaid) and, with some limitations, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, as are many Pennsylvania state benefits.

As savings earn interest or returns over time, neither federal nor Pennsylvania income tax is owed – and, when a withdrawal including that growth is taken, no income tax is owed as long as the withdrawal is used to pay for qualified disability expenses.

PA ABLE offers seven different investment options, including an interest-bearing checking account. Account owners, along with family members and friends, can contribute up to $18,000 per year to a PA ABLE account. Contributions can be deducted on Pennsylvania state income taxes.

Currently, to be eligible to save with PA ABLE, a person’s disability must onset prior to their 26th birthday – but the age limit will increase to 46 starting on Jan. 1, 2026. This is thanks to the ABLE Age Adjustment Act, which will expand ABLE eligibility to millions more Americans including one million Veterans.

PA ABLE is one of the largest ABLE programs in the country and the largest program in the 19-member National ABLE Alliance, accounting for more than 25% of total Alliance assets.

Since taking office, Treasurer Garrity has reduced fees three times for PA ABLE account owners. She is the inaugural chair of the National ABLE Savings Plans Network, a part of the National Association of State Treasurers dedicated to growing awareness, engagement and growth of ABLE Plans nationally. To learn more, visit paable.gov or call (855) 529-2253.

Treasurer Stacy Garrity Announces Upgrades to Transparency Portal

Treasurer Stacy Garrity announced today that new features have been added to Treasury’s award-winning Transparency Portal, improving access to state budget and spending details.

Users can now, for the first time ever, easily compare current revenue received in the current budget year with that received in previous years. The new features also include the ability to dive deeper into both total and federal funds, and to more easily navigate the portal on both desktop and mobile devices, including quick links to budget details, revenue comparisons, and federal funds.

“Transparency must always be a central goal of government, especially when it comes to how taxpayer dollars are being spent,” Treasurer Garrity said. “As a fiscal watchdog, I’m always focused on increasing transparency, and Treasury’s Transparency Portal is a vital part of that work. These new updates make it easier than ever for Commonwealth residents to see where their money is going and to hold their government accountable.”

The new Transparency Portal updates include:

  • Revenue Comparison – Users can compare revenue received in the current fiscal year with revenue received in previous years back to FY 2018-19.
  • Federal Funds – Users can see funds received from the federal government and how they are used by the Commonwealth.
  • Easy Access to Fund Details – A dropdown menu allows users to easily review the status of a specific fund (such as the General Fund, the Motor License Fund and the Lottery Fund).
  • More Options – When reviewing fund details, users can choose to display data over 1 year, 3 years and 5 years (in addition to 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, year-to-date, and all available).
  • Improved homepage navigation.

The Transparency Portal also includes tools to review state budget details, the Fiscal Health Scorecard, which presents financial data comparing Pennsylvania with similar states, and the Treasury Checkbook that discloses payments made by Treasury to its vendors. The Contracts e-Library allows anyone to review more than 500,000 state agency contracts, purchase orders, and amendments valued at $5,000 or more.

Treasury’s Transparency Portal includes data back to 2014. Since taking office, Treasurer Garrity has added numerous features to the site, including access to Ledger 5, which tracks unappropriated expenses, and the ability to see county- and state-level data about Pennsylvania’s unclaimed property program, the PA 529 College and Career Savings Program, Keystone Scholars, and the PA ABLE Savings Program.

Treasury’s Transparency Portal has won numerous awards, including the 2022 Government Experience Project Award from the Center for Digital Government, the 2018 CIO 100 Award, a Digital Edge 50 Award, and the 2017 PA Excellence in Technology Award. It was a finalist for the NASCIO 2018 Data Management and Analytics Award.

Visit Treasury’s Transparency Portal at patreasury.gov/transparency.

Treasurer Stacy Garrity Applauds Senate for State Tax Appeal Reform

Pennsylvania Treasurer Stacy Garrity applauded the Senate for its bipartisan approval of Senate Bill 1051 yesterday, pro-taxpayer legislation sponsored by Sen. Scott Hutchinson (R-21) to streamline and improve the process of resolving tax disputes with the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue (DOR).

SB 1051 will allow the Board of Finance and Revenue (BF&R) to accept late-filed applications in certain circumstances and to create a new independent, mediated settlement process for taxpayers as an alternative to the formal and lengthy court appeals process.

“The current tax appeal process tends to be bureaucratic, cumbersome and inflexible,” Treasurer Garrity said. “It’s a huge burden on too many individuals and businesses with legitimate tax appeals – we need to improve this process. Sen. Hutchinson’s legislation will create an even playing field for Pennsylvania taxpayers, and it will help tax issues get resolved more quickly. I applaud the Senate for approving this commonsense, taxpayer-friendly legislation.”

“My colleagues and I have found that, sometimes, the Department of Revenue can get a little overzealous when interpreting applicable tax law,” Sen. Hutchinson said. “Senate Bill 1051 gives taxpayers a little more time and some options when responding to assessments by the Department, while also benefiting our Commonwealth by resolving tax issues sooner and allowing tax liabilities to be collected more quickly. Plain and simple, SB 1051 is a taxpayer protection proposal that makes a complicated system clearer, simpler and taxpayer-friendly – it’s a win-win for all parties.”

SB 1051 is supported by numerous organizations, including the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, the NFIB, the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA), and the Pennsylvania Society of Enrolled Agents. A companion bill, House Bill 1994, was introduced by Rep. Tim Briggs (D-29).

Currently, taxpayers who disagree with a final decision made by DOR have a 60-day deadline to appeal the decision to BF&R. That often leads to cases being dismissed on a technicality rather than being decided on their merits. SB 1051 will allow BF&R to accept late-filed applications if good cause is shown by the taxpayer and neither party would be prejudiced.

The bill also empowers BF&R to create an independent settlement process, which will allow more tax disputes to be resolved without a final Board decision – thus reducing litigation costs for taxpayers. Under current law, BF&R has no authority to direct a mediated settlement process. Treasury estimates that up to 500 cases annually could be resolved under this process.

BF&R receives approximately 4,200 appeals annually. The Board must resolve each appeal within six months of its filing, absent an extension request; otherwise, the underlying DOR decision is upheld. Currently, only about 13 percent of eligible appeals are resolved through settlement prior to an appeal before the Commonwealth Court.

BF&R is an independent administrative tax tribunal, administered by the State Treasurer, responsible for the second and final level of administrative appeal (with minor exceptions) before appealing to court. The Board consists of three members – two are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Pennsylvania Senate; the third is the State Treasurer or her designee and serves as Chair.

Luzerne County Residents Refunded Registration Fees

Treasurer Stacy Garrity announced today that the Pennsylvania Treasury Department has sent refunds to approximately 31,000 Luzerne County residents who were owed money after the county eliminated its $5 annual vehicle registration fee.

Luzerne County residents owed the refund paid for two-year vehicle registration renewals prior to the elimination of the $5 fee.

“Working with Luzerne County, we were able to make these refunds without requiring the affected residents to take any action at all,” Treasurer Garrity said. “This wasn’t a traditional form of unclaimed property, but it was the most efficient way to get this money back where it belongs.”

“Luzerne County was happy to work with our State Treasurer’s office to get this refund out to citizens in the most economical way,” said John Lombardo, Luzerne County Council Chair. “Thank you very much to Stacy Garrity and her staff for assisting our administration in this effort.”

Most residents received a $5 refund, although some – based on when they paid their vehicle registration – received more, up to $20.

In February, Luzerne County sent $221,200 of excess registration fees to the Pennsylvania Treasury Department’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property. County officials worked quickly with Treasury to submit a claim on behalf of all 31,253 residents who were owed a refund.

Any resident of Luzerne County who has questions about this process can email the Pennsylvania Treasury Department’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property at tupmail@patreasury.gov or call 800-222-2046.

Treasury has more than $4.5 billion in unclaimed property owed to more than one in ten Pennsylvanians, with the average value of a claim being $1,600.

Unclaimed property can include things such as dormant bank accounts, insurance policies, and old valuables like contents of safe deposit boxes. State law requires businesses to report unclaimed property to Treasury after three years of dormancy.

Anyone can search for unclaimed property, and see if they are owed anything, at patreasury.gov/unclaimed-property.

Treasurer Stacy Garrity Celebrates 529 Day with Awards for Families

Treasurer Stacy Garrity celebrated 529 Day – May 29, or 5/29 – by encouraging families across Pennsylvania to save with the PA 529 College and Career Savings Program for a chance to win awards, including three top awards of $5,529 – enough to pay for a year’s tuition at a Pennsylvania community college.

May 29, 2024, has also been designated as College and Career Savings Day in Pennsylvania by the General Assembly, with resolutions sponsored by Senator Scott Martin (R-13) and Representative John Schlegel (R-101).

“I’m excited to celebrate 529 Day and very pleased that the General Assembly is supporting our efforts by proclaiming this as College and Career Savings Day,” Treasurer Garrity said. “Saving for education is an important step families can take to help make their child’s dreams come true, no matter what career path they take. Treasury is offering some fantastic promotional awards to encourage more families to take advantage of our PA 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan, which is a great savings tool. Saving now, means less to borrow when a child embarks on their technical career training, apprenticeship or college degree.”

“We all share a common interest in supporting strong postsecondary educational opportunities and career preparation programs to help young people chart a course toward a brighter future here in Pennsylvania,” said Senator Martin. “I am proud to partner with Treasurer Garrity to make more Pennsylvanians aware of the benefits of PA 529 accounts and the key role they play in helping students achieve their dreams.”

“The PA 529 College and Career Savings Program has helped many Pennsylvanian families save money for their child’s postsecondary education for more than three decades,” said Rep. Schlegel. “I encourage all families to consider this savings option.”

Treasury’s 529 Day promotion has been running since May 1, and families have until May 31 to save to be eligible for awards with the PA 529 GSP. The PA 529 GSP allows families to save at today’s tuition rates to meet tomorrow’s tuition costs. Families can choose the tuition level they wish to save at – from community colleges up to Ivy League universities.

Families who open a new PA 529 GSP and contribute at least $10 until May 31, will be eligible to win one of two statewide awards of $5,529, or one of six regional awards of $2,529. Last year, more than 1,000 families started saving during our 529 Day promotion.

New for this year, families who had a PA 529 GSP account prior to May are eligible to win one statewide award of $5,529 if they make an additional contribution of at least $10 to their child’s account before the end of the month.

The PA 529 program has been helping families save and pay for education for more than 30 years. Saving with PA 529 accounts comes with significant state and federal tax advantages. PA 529 accounts can be used for a wide variety of qualifying technical, collegiate, and apprenticeship expenses like tuition, fees, books, equipment, room and board, and more. Saving with PA 529 does not impact a student’s eligibility for Pennsylvania state financial aid.

Families with young children, born January 1, 2019, or later, already have a $100 Keystone Scholars account to jumpstart their education savings. This automatic deposit is available to every baby born in Pennsylvania, and the program uses no taxpayer dollars. Families are encouraged to claim their Keystone Scholars accounts online at pa529.com/keystone and open their own companion PA 529 account to continue saving for their child’s future.

Treasurer Stacy Garrity Encourages Pennsylvanians to Apply for Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program

Treasurer Stacy Garrity today encouraged eligible Pennsylvanians to apply for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program for this year’s rebate as soon as possible, noting that the Pennsylvania Treasury Department will begin sending rebates to approved applicants on July 1.

“Many more Pennsylvanians are eligible for the Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program this year because the General Assembly and the Governor made the smart decision to expand the program,” Treasurer Garrity said. “I encourage everyone who’s eligible to apply as soon as possible. Treasury will start making payments on July 1, which is the earliest we’re able to under the law – and we’ll continue making payments on a rolling basis after that. This essential program makes a huge difference for so many, including older Pennsylvanians and those living with disabilities, and I’m committed to getting these payments out as quickly as possible once applicants are approved by the Department of Revenue.”

The new law increased household income limits for rebates to $45,000 for homeowners and renters (up from $35,000 and $15,000, respectively). Claimants may exclude half of their Social Security income. The maximum standard rebate is now $1,000 (up from $650).

Treasurer Garrity especially encouraged first-time applicants to apply as soon as possible because the Department of Revenue has indicated they will need more time to verify new applicant information as part of their efforts to combat program fraud.

The Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program benefits Pennsylvanians age 65 and older, widows and widowers age 50 and older, and people with disabilities age 18 and older. Some homeowners may qualify for supplemental rebates. The deadline to apply for this year’s rebate is June 30, 2024.

As part of last year’s program expansion, beginning in 2025, the income limits will be adjusted annually based on the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI). That calculation will be done by the Secretary of Revenue.

Since the program’s inception in 1971, more than $8 billion in rebates have been paid.

Treasurer Stacy Garrity Commends House for Passing Legislation to Strengthen PA 529 and PA ABLE

Treasurer Stacy Garrity today commended members of the Pennsylvania House for unanimously approving House Bill 1745, sponsored by Rep. Paul Friel (D-26), which will provide a tax credit for employers who contribute to PA 529 College and Career Savings Program accounts owned by their employees. The bill includes an amendment sponsored by Rep. Joe Emrick (R-137) to extend the same benefit to employers who contribute to employees’ PA ABLE Savings Program accounts. PA ABLE is a savings program for Pennsylvanians with disabilities.

“PA 529 and PA ABLE accounts are helping people all across Pennsylvania, and both have seen exceptional growth over the past three years,” Treasurer Garrity said. “I applaud the House for advancing this bill to strengthen both programs with tremendous bipartisan support. Creating tax credits will encourage employers to contribute to employees’ PA 529 and PA ABLE accounts, which will be a huge benefit for hardworking families as they save for the future.”

“The PA 529 program has helped hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania families save for their child’s or grandchild’s future education,” Rep. Friel said. “I’m pleased that the PA 529 tax credit bill passed the House unanimously. We’re coming together to improve college access and make education more affordable by reducing the financial burden on Pennsylvania’s students and their families.”

“Addressing the skills gap and strengthening our workforce starts with access to education,” said Rep. Kristin Marcell (R-178), a strong supporter of the legislation. “By encouraging employers to invest in their employees’ futures, HB 1745 not only supports Pennsylvania families but also contributes to building a more skilled and educated workforce.”

HB 1745 would establish a 25 percent tax credit on employer contributions of up to $500 per participating employee per year. It would apply to contributions made to any PA ABLE account and any 529 account owned by a Pennsylvania resident.

Incorporating a tax credit for Pennsylvania employers who provide contributions to PA 529 accounts was recommended by the Tuition Account Program Advisory Board in the program’s most recent annual report. Seven other states – Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Nebraska, Nevada and Wisconsin – provide a similar credit.

HB 1745 now moves to the Senate for consideration. Treasurer Garrity thanked Rep. Friel, Rep. Marcell, Rep. Emrick, Rep. Peter Schweyer (D-134), and Rep. Jesse Topper (R-78) for their key roles in advancing the legislation in a bipartisan fashion.

The PA 529 College and Career Savings Program helps families steadily and strategically save for future educational expenses like tuition, fees, books, equipment, room and board and more at qualifying technical, collegiate and apprenticeship programs. PA 529 plans also offer significant state and federal tax advantages and saving with PA 529 does not impact Pennsylvania state financial aid eligibility.

There are two options to invest with PA 529: the PA 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan, which allows families to save at today’s tuition rates to meet tomorrow’s tuition costs, and the PA 529 Investment Plan, which allows families to choose from a variety of investment options and received a Gold Rating from Morningstar in 2023, making it one of the top two 529 plans in the nation.

The PA 529 program has been helping families save and pay for education for more than 30 years. There are currently almost 300,000 PA 529 accounts with assets of nearly $7.5 billion.

Visit pa529.com to learn more about the PA 529 College and Career Savings Program.

PA ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) accounts are a tax-free way for Pennsylvanians with disabilities, and their families, to save without affecting eligibility for important benefits. Treasurer Garrity recently announced the program’s fourth fee reduction in the past three years, resulting in annual savings of more than $80,000 for PA ABLE account owners.

To learn more about program eligibility and how to start saving with PA ABLE, visit paable.gov.

Treasurer Stacy Garrity Announces New INVEST Manager

Pennsylvania Treasurer Stacy Garrity announced today that Ryan Buxton has been promoted to INVEST Manager, a new position within Treasury’s Bureau of Cash Management.

Buxton will develop and implement strategies to grow INVEST’s assets and increase program participation statewide. INVEST helps local government and nonprofit organizations meet their financial goals.

“INVEST is a powerful program, and with Ryan taking this leadership role, I know more nonprofit organizations and local governments will benefit from it,” Treasurer Garrity said. “INVEST is tremendously flexible, and it’s a great tool to help organizations safely achieve growth without sacrificing liquidity. Ryan’s experience in community outreach in Treasury’s Bureau of Consumer Programs, and his many previous years working with INVEST, make him the perfect person for this important job.”

“I want to thank Treasurer Garrity for her leadership and vision and getting INVEST into both rural and urban communities across Pennsylvania,” Buxton said. “I’m excited to continue that vision by moving the program forward by making it easier to enroll in INVEST and spreading the word about our investment products to both nonprofit organizations and government entities. Whether you’re a fire company or a municipal government, INVEST is a safe place to realize a great return on your investment.”

Buxton has worked for Treasury since 1995, including 16 years with the INVEST Program. Prior to his new role as INVEST Manager, he worked as an Outreach Specialist with the Bureau of Consumer Programs, promoting the PA 529 College and Career Savings Program, Keystone Scholars, the PA ABLE Savings Program and unclaimed property.

INVEST is a tool designed for local government agencies and nonprofit organizations such as townships, counties, school districts, volunteer fire companies, libraries and others. The program, similar in concept to a money market fund, offers two pools – the INVEST Daily Pool and the INVEST Community Pool. There are also periodic custom investment opportunities for longer-term needs. Treasury’s investment staff, which also oversees investments and custody of more than $150 billion in public funds, manages INVEST portfolios.

Important features of INVEST include:

  • No minimum balance requirement;
  • Daily liquidity;
  • Unlimited transactions;
  • No transaction fees; and
  • No minimum or maximum deposits.

More than 260 entities currently use INVEST, and the program has assets totaling about $1.3 billion.

INVEST has received the highest credit rating possible, AAAm, from Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings (S&P) for both pool offerings.

Local government entities and nonprofit organizations can learn more about INVEST at patreasury.gov/invest or email investoperations@patreasury.gov.