The Government has introduced laws allowing the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to transfer money from bank accounts that have had no activity for three years. Banks and other authorised deposit taking institutions are required to submit to ASIC details of any bank accounts that have had no activity for the past three years by 31 May 2013.
Under the new laws, ASIC are able to shift the account balances of inactive accounts to the Government. Some reports estimate this measure will net the Federal Government over $100 Million this year.
Account holders will be able to reclaim monies from the Government, but this will no doubt be a time consuming process and small account balance holders may just ignore it.
We expect this may affect a variety of clients including Australian expats that have funds sitting in Australian bank accounts. To prevent this from occurring, bank account holders should review their accounts and ensure some activity takes place before 31 May 2013.
For accounts that need to remain open, a small deposit or withdrawal should be sufficient activity to prevent the Government from transferring your money. We understand that bank fees and interest are not counted as activities on the accounts, so some positive action is required by the account holder.
Account holders must take action before 31 May 2013 to prevent the Government from transferring these balances.