Unclaimed money - how authorised deposit-taking institutions lodge returns

An unclaimed money return is where an entity provides to ASIC unclaimed money in accordance with the law. All authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADIs) must submit an annual unclaimed money return to ASIC by 31 March each year containing the unclaimed money as at 31 December of the previous year (section 69 of the Banking Act 1959 (Banking Act)).

ADIs include banks, building societies and credit unions. For a complete list of ADIs go to the APRA website.

Looking for unclaimed money? Go to our consumer website, MoneySmart

What is unclaimed money for ADIs?

Section 69 of the Banking Act identifies unclaimed money as all principal, interest, dividends, bonuses, profits and sums of money legally payable by the ADI, but where the time limit for commencing proceedings for recovery of these funds has expired. This includes dormant accounts where there has been no deposit or withdrawal by the owner of the account for seven years.

However, this does not include:

  • unclaimed money held in retirement savings accounts (within the meaning of the Retirement Savings Accounts Act 1997)
  • money in an account that is denominated in a currency other than Australian currency
  • money in a children’s account
  • farm management deposits (within the meaning of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997)
  • term deposits 
  • money held in an account with the ADI in respect of which the holder of the account, or an agent of the holder, has notified the ADI, between the end of the year and the day the statement is delivered to the Treasurer, that the holder wishes to treat the account as active.

Amounts of unclaimed money less than $500 cannot be sent to ASIC by an ADI (see the Banking (Unclaimed Money) Regulation 2016).

For more information on the requirements and exemptions see section 69 of the Banking Act and related regulations.

How an ADI lodges a return for unclaimed money

Each year by 31 March ADIs must lodge a return with ASIC providing the unclaimed money held by the ADI as at 31 December of the previous year.

As an ADI, you can lodge your return by:

  1. completing a CSV return form
  2. lodging the CSV return form by email to ASIC’s Unclaimed Money Unit; and
  3. making payment to ASIC of the unclaimed money.

Lodging a nil return when an ADI has no unclaimed money for the year

If you have no unclaimed money as at 31 December of the previous year, as an ADI you must still lodge a return by 31 March. You can lodge a nil return by email.

Your email should use this wording:

To: unclaimed.lodging@asic.gov.au

Subject: ADI unclaimed money nil return for <insert your company>

<Your ADI name>

<Year of Return>

I refer to our annual unclaimed money return. This is to confirm that we have no money to be provided to ASIC as unclaimed money.

<Name of person submitting the email>

<Position of person>

<Contact phone number>

CSV return form

A CSV return form is an Excel spreadsheet and contains:

Header record: Where the ADI’s information is entered (row 1)

Detail record/s: Where the unclaimed money record is entered (rows 2, 3, etc)

To make an Excel spreadsheet into a CSV return form you will need to save it as a comma delimited file format (.csv). To do this, use ‘save as’ to change the spreadsheet type to .csv.

Unclaimed money life company report screenshotUnclaimed money life company report screenshot

The CSV return form has a specific format that must be complied with for ASIC’s system to receive and process the return. Our downloadable guide to the CSV return form includes the information to be included and the required format.

Guide to Banking Act CSV returns form

It is advisable to check that your CSV return form:

  • has a Header record
  • has correct totals in the Header record
  • includes only amounts of $500 or more
  • has the full name of the depositor or shareholder
  • has the last known address of the depositor or shareholder (‘unknown’ addresses may be rejected); and
  • has the BSB (branch code) that applies to any account.

The detailed information you provide ensures that accurate and sufficiently complete unclaimed money details can be made available to the public and claimants identified. This information can be searched on our consumer website Moneysmart.

Lodging the CSV return form

Once you have completed your CSV return form you can lodge it by email.

Your email should include this wording:

To: unclaimed.lodging@asic.gov.au

Subject: ADI unclaimed money return for <insert your company>

<Your ADI name>

<Year of Return>

I refer to our annual unclaimed money return. Please find attached our CSV return form containing details of unclaimed money.

I certify that there are no amounts under $500 included in the CSV return form.

I confirm that we are unable to locate an address for any records listed with an ‘unknown’ address because <if applicable, provide details>.

I certify that the attached CSV return form is true and correct.

<Name of person submitting the email>

<Position of person>

<Contact phone number>

Lodging your CSV return form by email assists ASIC in processing the return as quickly as possible.

As an ADI, if you have internal privacy or security policies which would prevent you making your return by email with an attached CSV return form, please send an email to unclaimed.lodging@asic.gov.au outlining:

  • details as to why you can’t use the email process; and
  • what alternative you propose so that the information can be provided to ASIC electronically, but complying with your security/privacy policy.

We will consider these issues on a case-by-case basis.

Making payment to ASIC of unclaimed money

You will receive email confirmation that your CSV return form has been accepted and details of how you can make payment will be provided.

If the payment of the unclaimed money is not received by ASIC within 5 business days of ASIC’s email your return may be rejected.

Contact us

Contact the Unclaimed Money Unit:

By phone: 1300 301 198
By email: unclaimed.lodging@asic.gov.au

Postal address:

Unclaimed Money Unit
Australian Securities and Investments Commission
GPO Box 9827
Brisbane Qld 4001

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Last updated: 30/03/2023 12:15