From May 31, 2013 the Federal Government will be able to transfer the balance from bank accounts that have not been used for three years into their own coffers. The previous legislation allowed for bank accounts to remain inactive for up to 7 years before the funds were transferred to ASIC.
The legislation was rushed through parliament in February 2013 and it means that accounts with anything from $1 upwards that have not had any deposit or withdrawals in the past three years will be transferred to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission.
The money can be reclaimed from ASIC but the process can take months. This raid by Treasury is forecast to raise $109 million this year.
People who have put money away in an account for their children’s education or who have deposited inheritance proceeds in a separate account for a rainy day may be impacted. The Australian Bankers Association warn that unsuspecting customers face having accounts frozen and this cash grab comes as economists predict the Government is on track to hand down a $15 billion budget deficit in May.
Before Christmas, Treasurer Wayne Swan junked the Government’s previously “rock solid” promise to produce a surplus in 2012-13. There is more than $670 million in lost shares, bank account and life insurance funds and you can do a search to identify if you have a claim at: