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Consultation on proposed changes to unclaimed money

Inland Revenue has begun consultation on changes to the Unclaimed Money Act 1971 which would make it easier for people to claim money held by IR.

Unclaimed money is money handed on to Inland Revenue by banks, insurance companies, building societies, auctioneers, real estate agents, accountants and motor vehicle traders. It is not unclaimed income tax refunds.

IR administers the Act and provides a service for the true owners of money which has been left untouched for six or more years in bank accounts or with insurance companies.

The proposed changes would remove the need for holders of unclaimed money to maintain physical registers, reduce the period of time which must elapse before money is deemed unclaimed and improve Inland Revenue’s ability to match unclaimed money with people.

Along with savers missing out on money they may have forgotten about, banks and the like incur compliance costs keeping track of unclaimed money from defunct bank accounts.

Inland Revenue’s unclaimed money database has a total value of nearly $181 million.

The changes will mean lower administrative costs for holders of defunct accounts and just as importantly, will make it easier for savers to recover funds from old bank accounts.

Other amendments to the unclaimed money rules under consideration are:

  • reducing the period of time that money must sit in an account before it is deemed ‘unclaimed’;
  • reconsidering the current $100 threshold for accounts considered to be unclaimed money; and
  • defining the Unclaimed Money Act as an Inland Revenue Act, thereby improving Inland Revenue’s ability to match accounts with people.

 For more information see the consultation document.

Submissions close on 28 February 2020. Send to [email protected] with “Unclaimed Money” in the subject line; or post to:

Unclaimed Money

C/- Deputy Commissioner, Policy and Strategy

Inland Revenue Department

PO Box 2198

Wellington 6140