Has the Government taken your money?

Inactive bank accounts can be transferred into the Government’s hands

Has the Government taken your money?

As reported earlier this year, from the beginning of May any bank account which has not seen activity for three years can be transferred into the Government’s hands. This legislation has now come into effect, so it might be worth calling your bank to check all of your accounts are still in your possession.

Previously the account had to have been inactive for seven years before the Federal Government could take over its handling.

All authorised deposit taking institutions had to submit a report on unclaimed money to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) for accounts which had been inactive for seven years by 31 March, and for accounts which have been inactive for three years by 31 May this year. These accounts will then be transferred to the Commonwealth via ASIC.

Accounts which are most likely to be affected are those which contain the bond for a rental property with a lease of longer than three years, savings accounts into which you are no longer making deposits, unclaimed superannuation, life insurance and trust funds. Hundreds of thousands of Australians own accounts which could be transferred to the Government under the amended legislation.

If you think it is possible you have an account which falls into this category, all you need to do is transfer just $1 in or out of the account to protect it for another three years. Interest payments, fees and charges are not considered transactions and will not prevent the balance of your account from being claimed. If one of your accounts is about to be transferred your financial institution is supposed to let you know, but there have been reports that these letters are not always getting through, especially if the account is under an old address.

The Government will continue to pay interest on all accounts claimed, so that their value remains the same. If your account is claimed and you discover it at a later date, you can reclaim the money if you can prove it is yours by filling out a form and writing to ASIC.

To find out if you have unclaimed money, visit the ASIC website and use the ‘Find lost money’ tool. If you do discover an account which has been taken over, you can then fill out a form on the same website to reclaim it. 

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    To make a comment, please register or login
    27th May 2013
    Will the Government inform the customer that it has the money? If so, it could be easier to have the money redeemed to the customer. Not lost but found!
    27th May 2013
    I was advised by my bank that as long as statements are not returned to them and they are still able to contact me my funds will be OK
    Nan Norma
    27th May 2013
    Which bank???
    27th May 2013
    Once this Government takes your money, they do not like giving it back. Bet your bottom dollar that the reclaim process will be long and drawn out, and probably there will be "Government" charges also. Apparently TERM DEPOSITS will not be affected by theses new measures. Regardless it is another Government "rort", which is actually stealing.
    27th May 2013
    By today's standards Robin Hood was a gentleman. At least he only stole from the rich and gave to the poor and didn't keep it for himself. Todays governments don't give a hoot about who they get their money from or how they go about getting it. Who knows what scheme they'll come up with next. Pretty sad when we can't even have money (what we thought was safely) sitting in the bank for an imergancie fund,our funeral or whatever. Oh! how I long for those days when we knew what real freedom was. Won't be long now and there won't be any left at all.
    27th May 2013
    Robin Hood was indeed a true gentleman! On one hand you have the greedy,gouging banks ripping off customers and on the other we have our fabulous government taking it from us left right and centre.... One wonders if a powdered milk tin under the bed would be safer???
    27th May 2013
    What do you mean THIS government Macjam? Do you seriously think things will be any different with a Liberal government in this respect? If you have your money with a reputable institution, they will advise you re these changes.

    If you've moved and not notified them, well then that's your problem. People are so careless when it comes to their money - I know exactly where every cent of mine is !
    27th May 2013
    It shouldn't matter if you notify them or not, your money should be still there even if you don't touch it for 20 or 30 years, it's still YOUR money that YOU deposited, and should still be there when YOU decide to use it. Who do the banks and government think they are?? Untrustworthy comes to mind.
    27th May 2013
    I rang to check if mt little pot of gold was safe and if it was true about your money being taken by the governmemt after 3 years of not touching your account. I was told it was true but interest going into a account makes it active, as I don't trust what I am being told these days am on my way to take my dollar out, not put one in, the interest rate stinks anyway.
    people power
    1st Jun 2013
    My fellow pensioners , There is a paper out, Banks or Die about this but you need to contact CEC.com.au you might get what the Governments real objective is you might think they are a bit of a reble mob but they do no what they print, you might just wake up one day and find all your money gone, whorth a look at it
    4th Jun 2013
    I worked for a bank many years ago and it was my job to once each year check the unoperated on old savings accounts , I think it was 7 years. When everyone had been written to many answered and many did not. They were further checked and then the balances would be transferred to Internal Revenue, should someone arrive to check their account it was returned from I R and recredited to the person concerned. Some people were surprised and very happy because they had squirreled away a few pounds /dollars and we had jogged their memory. It was of course the old days where we all had a pass book..
    To all those above having a gripe about banks at the same time--please thank god you are still here on this wonderful planet. Me thinks he/she protests to much.
    people power
    4th Jun 2013
    Neffertti, Im not complaining i dont have money in the bank anymore, but you do need to take alook at the world at present its changed since 911 old chap,today the IMF wont there money back, I would suggest a bit of homework is required by you to bring you up with world events and policies