Australian Bank Account Holders Beware! Accounts “Inactive” After Three Years & Subject to Government Seizure as Unclaimed Property.

Faced with the dilemma of paying for growing expenditures with lower tax revenues, governments world wide have aggressively sought new sources of cash, and many have focused their efforts on seizing “unclaimed property,” including “inactive” bank and savings accounts.  A fascinating article in The Sydney Morning Herald sets forth how astoundingly successful these efforts have been.

The paper reports that from 2001 to 2012, the Australian government maintained $304 million in unclaimed funds. In 2013, the Labor government then in power redefined an “inactive account” as one in which there has been no activity for seven years to a meager three years!, and an “inactive” account will be seized by the government as “unclaimed property.”  And the result?  The Australian government now sits on $704 million in unclaimed money–an increase of a staggering $400 million in one year, “more money than between 2001 and 2012 combined.” Interestingly, not only are Australian citizens impacted by the shortened time period, but of the $400 million, $85 million belongs to overseas account holders. The writers even provide an interactive map of the world allowing readers to highlight a particular country’s holdings claimed by Australia. Asia leads the category with $48 million lost.  Americans had $8 million seized.

Australian bank account holders–wherever you may be–you have been warned!



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