The purpose of the Unclaimed Money Act 1990 (the Act) is to protect the interests of people due monies that they may have forgotten about.
Under the Act, Western Australian organisations (e.g. businesses, government agencies) must comply with the following process through which they transfer monies they owe to another organisation or person to Department of Treasury (Treasury).
The Act is general in nature and does not deal with specific scenarios through which monies become unclaimed. Treasury simply requires a listing of the monies in question (e.g. Payee name, payee address, amount, date money was payable, reference/description of money. State 'Unknown' if applicable).
Under the Act, Western Australian organisations may not be permitted to keep money that does not belong to them and those monies are to be deposited with Treasury.
To the best of their knowledge organisations should record the Payee’s name, last known address, amount, date of payment and a reference/description as to what the payment relates to. You must state 'Unknown' if applicable.
Where required, organisations will have to transfer monies to Treasury where they are to be held, indefinitely, on behalf of the rightful Owner/Payee.
There is an advertising period where Treasury lists unclaimed money details in an online Register of Unclaimed Money and people claiming monies are directed to the relevant organisation.
At the end of the advertising period the balance of monies remaining unclaimed is transferred to Treasury.
Some key points of the Act are as follows:
Copies of the Act can be obtained from the website www.slp.wa.gov.au
Example uses the period ended 31 Dec 2012. (Update the years as required)
An annual Notification of Unclaimed Money should be prepared as at this date. Amounts predating 31 December 2006 (i.e. 6 years) are unclaimed money. Amounts predating 31 December 2010 (i.e. 2 years) may be voluntarily considered unclaimed.
Organisations should use the Notification Template for providing Treasury with unclaimed money lists.
At the end of each calendar year (i.e. as at 31 December) organisations must compile a Notification of any unclaimed money they hold.
That Notification should be emailed to Treasury by 31 January or as soon as possible thereafter.
The information contained in Notifications will be transferred, as is, to Treasury’s Register of Unclaimed Money and it must be accurate and in the following format.
Updates to the Register will be made available for public inspection via Treasury’s Internet database as soon as is practical post 31 July.
The contact details provided by organisations during Registration (or subsequent updates) will appear on the Treasury website next to the monies that organisation holds. Potential claimants to those monies will be referred to the relevant organisation until such time as the money in question is transferred to Treasury (see Step 3).
Organisations producing sizable lists from computerised systems can apply to Treasury to be exempt from using this template. However, the general information requirements will still apply.
The advertising period concludes 31 July of the year following the public listing of unclaimed money in the Register.
Treasury will, as soon as is practical, after that date email a payment advice to organisations. Bank details of the Treasury’s bank account and a reference to be quoted will be included in that advice.
In addition to their payment, organisations will be asked to email Treasury an updated advice showing any claimed amounts.
Following the transfer of funds Treasury will assume responsibility for dealing with claims. Organisations will, however, be able to request the return of funds or provide payment directions to Treasury where they have located their clients (i.e. people due the monies in question).
Due to office security requirements our Unclaimed Money officer is unable to meet personally with the public. All unclaimed money communications should be conducted via email, post or phone.
Please ensure you read the above information before contacting Treasury with enquiries.
Email: [email protected]
Administrator, Unclaimed MoneyDepartment of TreasuryLocked Bag 11Cloisters Square PERTH WA 6850
Telephone: (08) 6551 2600
Copies of the Act can be obtained from State Law Publisher website www.slp.wa.gov.au.