The Unclaimed Moneys Act 1891 (Act) has not been substantially reviewed since its inception in 1891, and requires modernisation to reflect and support current business practices.
As part of the Commonwealth Project Agreement for Small Business Regulatory Reform (Reform), we have committed to reducing the regulatory burden of complying with the requirements of the Act on small business.
We have identified an additional opportunity for change, outside the changes committed to as part of the Reform agreement. The additional changes include the increase in the claim thresholds, and limiting the time during which unclaimed money can be claimed. Further information on these changes is available here proposed changes
It is anticipated that these additional changes will reduce the regulations on companies with respect to low valued unclaimed money.
They will minimise the time spent on the administration of low value and dated claims, which often cost more to administer than their value.
This will enable the diversion of resources to improving the claims process for claimants, through improved online processing of claims.
What is unclaimed money?
The Act defines unclaimed money to mean:
"...all principal and interest money, and all dividends, bonuses, profits, and sums of money whatsoever, which prior to the passing of this Act, or which hereafter, shall have been in possession of any company for a period of six years or upwards in respect whereof no claim shall have been made by the owner against the company, and which shall arise out of any dealing had within the said state by any owner or person with the company..."
Section 7A of the Act also states that:
"... any person (not being a company) in possession of any moneys whatsoever which have been in the possession of that person for a period of one year or upwards and of which the owner cannot be found may pay such moneys to the Treasurer of the State..."
An example of a 'person' is a Conveyancer, Land Broker, Land Agent, Solicitor, and Lawyer.
When does your money become unclaimed money?
Your money becomes unclaimed when:
- the company has exhausted all avenues of finding the owner and the owner has been 'lost' for a period of 6 years
- the person (not being a company) has exhausted all avenues of finding the owner and the owner has been 'lost' for a period of 12 months.
The company must advertise their unclaimed monies register in the Government Gazette at the start of the 7th and 8th year of the money being unclaimed.
The Act legislates that in the 9th year any money on the register that has remained unclaimed be forwarded to The Department of Treasury & Finance, where the company or individual has their head office registered in South Australia or carries on business in South Australia.
You can learn more about unclaimed money on the Department of Treasury and Finance website.