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  • Magdalene Chong

How to deal with Unclaimed Money in your Trust Account?

Updated: Jan 19

Have you ever been troubled by unknown funds that have been staying in your trust account for a long period of time and do not know how to deal with it? Well, according to the legislations of each state, all businesses do bear the legal responsibility to lodge these unknown funds to the related departments in each state as unclaimed money if those particular funds have been kept in the trust account for a specific period.


What is unclaimed money?

For those who doesn’t know what unclaimed money is, it is actually a sum of money (amount varies according to different states) that cannot identify its rightful owner that retains in the trust account for a period of time. The table below shows the example of unclaimed money:


Queensland

According to the section 33 of Trust Account Act 1973, the trustee of the trust account is entitled to lodge the unclaimed money that are held on or before 1st April of each year, to The Public Trustee. Failing to do so might face a penalty of 50 penalty units upon the licensed estate agents.


The Section 33(2) of Trust Account Acts has stated that the unclaimed money shall be lodged to The Public Trustee if:

(a) a beneficiary who is not known; or

(b) a beneficiary whose whereabouts are unknown; or

(c) a beneficiary of whom it is not known whether the beneficiary is alive or dead; or

(d) a beneficiary who has died, the executors or administrators of whom are dead or whose whereabouts are unknown.


Victoria

Businesses are responsible to lodge the unclaimed money to the State Revenue Office in Victoria each year if the unclaimed money has been held for more than 12 months.


However, if the amount of the unclaimed money is not over $20, the business owner is not required to lodge the money to the State Revenue Office.


New South Wales

The trustee of the trust account are required to lodged the unclaimed money to the RevenueNSW under the Property, Stock and Business Agents Act 2002 if the money have been held in the trust account for more than 2 years regardless of the amount on 30th June each year.


The trustee doesn’t have to lodge the money if:

· Money is held for the same person in other active accounts

· The owner wants to keep the money in that account

· The money belongs to a deregistered company

· The owner can recover the money under law


The unclaimed money can be lodged via online portals provided for each state, the steps of the lodgement might differ from state to state, but the trustee are generally required to complete the lodgement as follows:

1. Create a register for unclaimed money on the online portal

2. Provide the register/return list that states all the items of the unclaimed money in csv/excel/txt file format

3. Complete the lodgement via online portal

4. Make payment to the related department via EFT


For more information, please visit the websites provided down below:

· New South Wales : Revenue NSW

· Victoria : State Revenue Office Victoria

· Queensland : The Public Trustee

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