From 31 May 2013, the federal government will have the power to claim funds from inactive bank accounts that have not been in use for the last three years. All bank accounts that hold more than $1 and have not had any deposits or withdrawals during this time frame will have its funds transferred to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).

Other possible inactive accounts include:

•   share trading accounts

•   trust accounts

•   long-term savings accounts

•   bank accounts set up for personal savings, children’s education or

•   Inheritances

You can take steps to ensure that your money does not become unclaimed. Making even a 5 cent deposit or withdrawal on your bank account once every 2 to 3 years will prevent your account becoming unclaimed.

Keeping in contact with your financial institution that holds your money, life insurance policy or similar financial product and ensuring that they have your current contact details, will assist the institution in raising such matters with you.

The unclaimed money received by ASIC is always claimable by the rightful owner, so there is no time-limit within which a rightful owner must make a claim. The money remains available to claim, even though it has been transferred to the Consolidated Revenue Fund. From 1 July 2013, interest will also be payable. Therefore it is in your best interest not to have the money transferred to ASIC after 3 years because more work is required to get it back.

If you have further questions or are concerned that you may have money that can become unclaimed, you should contact the institution that holds the money and discuss your circumstances. If you are having issues with dealing with the ATO or ASIC, contact the experienced team of Lawyers and Accountants at The Quinn Group by submitting an online enquiry or calling 1300 QUINNS or +61 2 9223 9166.