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Surge In 'Unclaimed Money' Managed By Inland Revenue

Inland Revenue's unclaimed money list features amounts of at least $100 that have been left untouched in banks, finance companies, and investment funds. File photo. Photo: 123rf.com

A surge in the amount of "unclaimed money" being managed by Inland Revenue (IR) is due to a change in the rules about how long organisations need to hold it, the department says.

Inland Revenue administers an unclaimed money list.

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This is a database of amounts of at least $100 that have been left untouched in banks, finance companies, investment funds or with someone such as a solicitor or accountant.

When reasonable efforts have been made for five years to try to locate the owner, it can be transferred. In some circumstances, it can be transferred to IR earlier, such as when an organisation is running a routine remediation process.

When the money is submitted to Inland Revenue, it is transferred to the Treasury until it is claimed.

As at 31 March, there were 415,829 people owed a total of $477,162 million.

Read more: How to find out if you have unclaimed money sitting with the IRD - and how to get your hands on it

One individual - ZW Zhou - is owed $230,383.37, which was transferred from ANZ.

In the nine months to 31 March, there was $130.89m transferred to Treasury. That's down from $206.12m in the year to 30 June but significantly up on the $59m of the 2022 financial year.

IR said the increase in money coming into the system was due to a change to the Unclaimed Money Act that introduced a single required holding period of five years for all funds.

It had previously been six or 25, depending on where the money was coming from.

"The Unclaimed Money List is publicly available for people to search and make claims on, through the Inland Revenue website," a spokesperson said.

"Customers can also search through their myIR accounts, where the system will offer suggested matches to choose from. Sometimes, the Unclaimed Money team identifies potential owners, and sends out letters inviting them to submit claims. Claims are processed by our team throughout the year."

People wanting to make a claim would need to provide evidence such as past contact information, a copy of correspondence with the organisation or a copy of the will if the money came from an estate.

The money can be claimed for 25 years after it is received by IR. After that, it goes to the Crown via Treasury.

Treasury also administers an unclaimed money list for funds coming from trusts.

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