Unclaimed Money Act 1971

Reprint as at 1 July 2015

Coat of Arms of New Zealand

Unclaimed Money Act 1971

Public Act
 
1971 No 28
Date of assent
 
16 October 1971
Commencement
 
see section 1(2)
Note

Changes authorised by subpart 2 of Part 2 of the Legislation Act 2012 have been made in this official reprint.

Note 4 at the end of this reprint provides a list of the amendments incorporated.

This Act is administered by the Inland Revenue Department.

An Act to consolidate and amend certain enactments of the Parliament of New Zealand relating to unclaimed money

Title: amended, on 1 January 1987, pursuant to section 29(2) of the Constitution Act 1986 (1986 No 114).

 
1 Short Title and commencement

(1)

This Act may be cited as the Unclaimed Money Act 1971.

(2)

This Act shall be deemed to have come into force on 1 June 1971.

2 Interpretation

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,—

Commissioner means the Commissioner of Inland Revenue as defined in the Tax Administration Act 1994

holder, in relation to any unclaimed money, means a holder within the meaning of section 5; and includes any person acting for or on behalf of the holder; and also includes the personal representative of the holder

officer of the Department means any person employed in the Inland Revenue Department

owner, in relation to any unclaimed money, means the person entitled to the unclaimed money; and includes any other person claiming under or on behalf of that person

savings bank means—

(a)

Post Office Bank Limited:

(b)

a trustee bank’s successor company in respect of any money vested in it by virtue of the Trustee Banks Restructuring Act 1988:

(c)

a savings bank company’s successor in respect of any money vested in it by virtue of the Private Savings Banks (Transfer of Undertakings) Act 1992:

(d)

a building society within the meaning of the Building Societies Act 1965 in respect of any money that was a savings bank deposit within the meaning of section 57 of the Building Societies Act 1965 as in force before the commencement of the Building Societies Amendment Act 1987

unclaimed money means unclaimed money within the meaning of section 4, being unclaimed money situated in New Zealand.

Compare: 1908 No 201 s 2

Section 2 Commissioner: amended, on 1 April 1995 (applying with respect to the tax on income derived in 1995–96 and subsequent income years), by section YB 1 of the Income Tax Act 1994 (1994 No 164).

Section 2 savings bank: replaced, on 22 May 1998, by section 22(1) of the Private Savings Banks (Transfer of Undertakings) Act 1992 (1992 No 21).

3 Unclaimed money to be paid to Crown

Subject to this Act, there shall be payable to the Crown all money which becomes unclaimed money after the commencement of this Act, except and so far as special provisions are made by or under any other Act.

4 Unclaimed money

(1)

Subject to this section, unclaimed money shall consist of—

(a)

money, including the interest or any amount in the nature of interest thereon, deposited with any holder so as to bear interest for a fixed term, which has been in the possession of the holder for the period of 6 years immediately following the date of expiry of the term:

(b)

money, including the interest or any amount in the nature of interest thereon, deposited with any holder so as to bear interest—

(i)

without limitation of time; or

(ii)

for a fixed term where, on the expiry of the fixed term, the money, if it is not withdrawn by the customer, is to be treated as reinvested,—

where in either case the customer has not operated on the account for a period of 25 years, whether by deposit, or withdrawal, or instruction in writing:

(c)

money deposited upon current account or otherwise with any holder and not bearing interest, where—

(i)

in any case where the holder is a savings bank, the customer has not operated on the account for a period of 25 years, whether by deposit, or withdrawal, or instruction in writing; and

(ii)

in any other case, the customer has not operated on the account for a period of 6 years, whether by deposit, or withdrawal, or instruction in writing:

(d)

money payable or distributable on or in consequence of the maturity of a policy of life assurance, being money which has been in the possession of any holder for the period of 6 years immediately succeeding the date on which—

(i)

the policy matured otherwise than by death; or

(ii)

the holder first had reason to suppose that the policy has matured by death, whether such death has been legally proved or not,—

whichever date is the earlier, and notwithstanding that by the terms of the policy the money is not payable or distributable except on proof of death, or on proof of age or any other collateral matter:

(e)

any other money, of any kind whatsoever, which has been owing by any holder for the period of 6 years immediately following the date on which the money has become payable by the holder:

provided that money of any of the kinds referred to in this subsection shall cease to be unclaimed money where—

(i)

in respect of any one owner it does not exceed $100 in total; and

(ii)

before the 1 June next succeeding the end of the period of 6 years or, as the case may be, 25 years specified in this subsection, that unclaimed money is, without limiting any claim any owner may have thereto, applied by the holder for his own benefit or for the benefit of any other person or for any purpose or object.

(2)

Unclaimed money shall not include—

(a)

any dividends, not being dividends payable by a mutual association in relation to money deposited with the association, payable by a company to any of its shareholders:

(b)

any rebate payable by a mutual association (other than a holder of the kind referred to in paragraph (f) of subsection (1) of section 5) to any of its members in relation to the trading transactions of the member with the association, not being a rebate payable in relation to money deposited with the association:

(c)

any benefits payable from any pension or superannuation fund.

(3)

Where a holder has ceased to carry on business or has died, and the holder, or, as the case may be, his personal representative, has for a period of 6 months or more immediately succeeding the date of that cessation or death been in possession of or owed money which has remained unclaimed and—

(a)

which would become unclaimed money when the period referred to in the appropriate paragraph of subsection (1) had expired if the money had remained unclaimed; or

(b)

which would have so become unclaimed money if it were not money of any of the kinds referred to in subsection (2),—

the holder or that personal representative may, if he thinks fit, pay the money to the Commissioner and furnish to the Commissioner particulars of the payment and of the person on whose behalf the money was held or to whom it was owed; and thereupon that money shall be deemed to be unclaimed money, and the provisions of this Act, as far as they are applicable, shall apply accordingly.

(4)

In subsection (2) the expression mutual association means any body or association of persons, whether incorporated or not, which enters into transactions of a mutual character with its members, whether or not it also enters into transactions with other persons.

Compare: 1908 No 201 s 2; 1932 No 11 s 26

Section 4(1) proviso paragraph (i): amended, on 24 March 1988, by section 2 of the Unclaimed Money Amendment Act 1988 (1988 No 9).

Section 4(3): amended, on 5 December 2013, by section 14 of the Companies Amendment Act 2013 (2013 No 111).

Section 4(3) proviso: repealed, on 5 December 2013, by section 14 of the Companies Amendment Act 2013 (2013 No 111).

5 Holder

(1)

This Act shall apply to unclaimed money held or owing by the following holders:

(a)

any company incorporated in New Zealand and any liquidator or receiver of any such company:

(b)

any company incorporated out of New Zealand and carrying on business in New Zealand, and any liquidator or receiver of any such company:

(c)

any bank, including a savings bank, carrying on business in New Zealand:

(d)

any building society within the meaning of the Building Societies Act 1965:

(e)

any person, firm, body, or institution carrying on the business of borrowing and lending money in New Zealand, in respect of money borrowed:

(f)

any insurance office or company carrying on business in New Zealand, including the Government Life Insurance Corporation:

(g)

any person registered as an auctioneer under the Auctioneers Act 2013:

(h)

any agent within the meaning of the Real Estate Agents Act 2008, whether or not a company, in respect of money held in a trust account:

(ha)

any conveyancing practitioner within the meaning of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006, in respect of money held in a trust account:

(i)

any sharebroker within the meaning of the Sharebrokers Act 1908, whether or not a company, in respect of money held on behalf of clients:

(j)

any qualified statutory accountant (within the meaning of section 5(1) of the Financial Reporting Act 2013) in respect of money held on behalf of clients:

(k)

any motor vehicle trader within the meaning of the Motor Vehicle Sales Act 2003, whether or not a company, for money held on behalf of any person for whom the trader has acted as agent in the course of carrying on the business of motor vehicle trading:

provided that where any holder referred to in paragraph (e) or paragraph (g) or paragraph (h) or paragraph (i) or paragraph (k) is a company, nothing in those paragraphs shall derogate from the provisions of paragraphs (a) and (b) in relation to that holder.

(2)

Any person, firm, body, or institution may elect to be the holder in respect of such money held or owing by him or it as he or it thinks fit, not being—

(a)

unclaimed money in respect of which he or it is the holder under subsection (1); or

(b)

except where subsection (3) of section 4 applies, money to which subsection (2) of that section applies;—

and in that case he or it shall be deemed to be the holder in respect of that money.

Compare: 1908 No 201 s 2; 1932 No 11 s 25; 1932–33 No 45 s 17

Section 5(1)(f): amended, on 1 April 1987, pursuant to section 34(3) of the Government Life Insurance Corporation Act 1987 (1987 No 70).

Section 5(1)(g): replaced, on 18 December 2013, by section 28(3) of the Auctioneers Act 2013 (2013 No 148).

Section 5(1)(h): amended, on 16 November 2009, by section 173 of the Real Estate Agents Act 2008 (2008 No 66).

Section 5(1)(ha): inserted, on 1 August 2008, by section 348 of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 (2006 No 1).

Section 5(1)(j): replaced, on 1 July 2015, by section 17 of the Financial Reporting Amendment Act 2014 (2014 No 64).

Section 5(1)(k): replaced, on 15 December 2003, by section 145 of the Motor Vehicle Sales Act 2003 (2003 No 12).

6 Register to be kept

(1)

Every holder shall, on 1 June in each year, enter in an alphabetical register, to be kept at the head or principal office in New Zealand of the holder, in the form prescribed in the Schedule, particulars of unclaimed money arising on or after 1 June in the preceding year; and from and after 8 June in each year that register shall be open to the inspection of all persons at that head or principal office during the hours within which the ordinary business of the holder is transacted, on payment of such fee as may be determined by the holder, but not exceeding 50 cents:

provided that—

(a)

on ceasing to carry on business in New Zealand a holder shall deposit the register in the custody of the Registrar of the District Court nearest to the place where that register was theretofore kept:

(b)

any holder may at any time so deposit any book or part of the register in which no entry has been made for a period of not less than 6 years immediately preceding the date of that deposit.

(2)

Nothing in this section shall apply to any unclaimed money in respect of which special provisions are made by or under any other Act, or to any unclaimed money which, pursuant to the proviso to subsection (1) of section 4, ceases to be unclaimed money.

Compare: 1908 No 201 s 3; 1932 No 11 s 27

Section 6(1) proviso paragraph (a): amended, on 1 April 1980, pursuant to section 18(2) of the District Courts Amendment Act 1979 (1979 No 125).

7 Holder to notify Commissioner and owners of entries in register of unclaimed money

(1)

Not later than 30 June in each year, every holder shall, by letter addressed to the last known place of business or abode of the owner, post to every owner in respect of whom an entry as the owner of unclaimed money was required to be made on the first day of that month in the register kept by the holder pursuant to section 6, a notice specifying the amount of that money and the fact that it is entered in the register as unclaimed money, and the holder shall thereupon enter in that register the date of posting of the notice.

(2)

Not later than 30 September in each year, every holder shall furnish to the Commissioner a copy of every entry made, on or after 1 June in that year, in the register kept by the holder pursuant to section 6, and shall indicate to the Commissioner which, if any, of the unclaimed money in respect of which the entry was so made, has, on or after that 1 June, been paid to the owner thereof.

(3)

Nothing in this section shall apply to any unclaimed money in respect of which special provisions are made by or under any other Act.

Compare: 1932 No 11 s 28

8 Payment of unclaimed money to Commissioner

(1)

All unclaimed money arising in any year ending with 31 May which has not, before the next succeeding 30 September, been paid by a holder to the owner thereof, and in respect of which no person has before that 30 September established a valid claim, shall be paid, on or before the next succeeding 31 October, by the holder to the Commissioner:

provided that this subsection shall not apply to any unclaimed money in respect of which special provisions in relation to payment to the Commissioner are made by this Act or in respect of which special provisions are made by or under any other Act.

(2)

All money payable to the Commissioner in accordance with this section shall be recoverable by the Commissioner on behalf of the Crown by action in his official name in any court of competent jurisdiction against the holder as a debt due to the Crown.

(3)

All unclaimed money received by the Commissioner under this or any other Act shall be paid into a Crown Bank Account.

(4)

Where unclaimed money is paid by a holder to the Commissioner in accordance with this Act, the holder shall thereafter be relieved of all further liability to any claimant in respect of the money so paid.

Compare: 1932 No 11 s 30

Section 8(3): amended, on 25 January 2005, pursuant to section 83(7) of the Public Finance Act 1989 (1989 No 44).

9 Special arrangements may be made by Commissioner

Notwithstanding the provisions of this Act, but without affecting the liability of the holder to pay unclaimed money to the Crown, the Commissioner may from time to time, pursuant to a special arrangement, exempt in writing any holder or any class of holder from compliance with all or any of the provisions of section 6, section 7, or subsection (1) of section 8, either absolutely or conditionally, or in respect of specified kinds of unclaimed money.

10 Examination of accounts

(1)

The Commissioner or any officer of the Department authorised by him in that behalf may at any time examine any register kept by a holder pursuant to section 6 and any accounts of the holder which relate to money which is or may be unclaimed money, and for that purpose may require the production of any book, voucher, or document relating to such money. If any error is found in the register furnished to the Commissioner or any such officer or in any notice sent to any owner, the Commissioner or the officer may require the same to be amended.

(2)

The Commissioner or any officer of the Department authorised by him in that behalf shall at all times have full and free access to all books and documents for the purpose of inspecting them for the purposes of this Act, and for this purpose may, without fee, make extracts from or copies of any such books or documents.

(3)

Every person shall, without fee, from time to time as required by the Commissioner or any officer of the Department authorised by him in that behalf furnish in writing any information or produce any books or documents which may be in his knowledge, or his possession or control, as the case may be, and which relate to money which is or may be unclaimed money.

Compare: 1932 No 11 s 31(1)–(4)

11 Commissioner may make payment to claimant

(1)

If any claimant makes any demand against the Commissioner for any money—

(a)

paid to the Commissioner; or

(b)

paid, whether before or after the commencement of this Act, into a Crown Bank Account under the provisions of any former enactment,—

the Commissioner, on being satisfied that the claimant is the owner of the money demanded by him, shall cause payment to be made by him.

(2)

All money paid by the Commissioner under subsection (1) shall be paid out of a Crown Bank Account without further appropriation than this Act.

(3)

[Repealed]

(4)

Where any money paid to any claimant under this section is afterwards claimed by any other person, the Commissioner shall not be responsible for the payment of the same, but that person may have recourse against the claimant to whom the Commissioner has paid the money.

(5)

No claimant shall be entitled to interest on the amount of any money for which demand on the Commissioner is made by him or on the amount of any money payment of which is made to him under this section.

Compare: 1908 No 201 ss 8, 9

Section 11(1)(b): amended, on 25 January 2005, pursuant to section 83(7) of the Public Finance Act 1989 (1989 No 44).

Section 11(2): amended, on 25 January 2005, pursuant to section 83(7) of the Public Finance Act 1989 (1989 No 44).

Section 11(2): amended, on 1 April 1987, by section 16(4) of the State Services Conditions of Employment Amendment Act 1987 (1987 No 17).

Section 11(3): repealed, on 1 April 1987, by section 16(4) of the State Services Conditions of Employment Amendment Act 1987 (1987 No 17).

Section 11(4): amended, on 1 August 1990, by section 2 of the Unclaimed Money Amendment Act 1990 (1990 No 65).

Section 11(4): amended, on 1 April 1987, by section 16(4) of the State Services Conditions of Employment Amendment Act 1987 (1987 No 17).

Section 11(5): amended, on 1 April 1987, by section 16(4) of the State Services Conditions of Employment Amendment Act 1987 (1987 No 17).

12 Officers to maintain secrecy

(1)

The Commissioner and every officer of the Department shall maintain and aid in maintaining the secrecy of all matters which come to his knowledge in the course of his duties under this Act, and shall not communicate any such matters to any person, except for the purpose of carrying this Act into effect:

provided that the Commissioner may make available for publication the names of owners of unclaimed money paid to the Commissioner under this Act or any former Act and the amounts received belonging to those owners.

(2)

Every person who wilfully acts in contravention of the provisions of this section is liable on conviction before a District Court Judge to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to a fine not exceeding $200.

Compare: 1932 No 11 s 31(4), (5)

Section 12(2): amended, on 1 July 2013, by section 413 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2011 (2011 No 81).

Section 12(2): amended, on 1 April 1980, pursuant to section 18(2) of the District Courts Amendment Act 1979 (1979 No 125).

13 Offences

Every person commits an offence, and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $500, who wilfully or negligently—

(a)

being a holder, fails to comply with any provision of section 6, section 7, subsection (1) of section 8, or section 10, or with any condition on which the Commissioner has granted exemption under section 9; or

(b)

being a director, manager, secretary, or other officer of the holder, authorises or permits that failure to comply.

Compare: 1932 No 11 ss 29(1), 31(5)

Section 13: amended, on 1 July 2013, by section 413 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2011 (2011 No 81).

14 Consequential amendments

(1), (2)

Amendment(s) incorporated in the Act(s).

(3)

[Repealed]

(4)

[Repealed]

(5)

[Repealed]

(6)

Subject to section 11, the enactments amended by this section shall continue to apply, as if this Act had not been passed, to all money which before the commencement of this Act has become unclaimed money under any provision of any such enactment.

Section 14(3): repealed, on 1 April 1983, by section 193(1) of the Law Practitioners Act 1982 (1982 No 123).

Section 14(4): repealed, on 1 April 1983, by section 193(1) of the Law Practitioners Act 1982 (1982 No 123).

Section 14(5): repealed, on 1 July 1994, by section 63 of the Companies Amendment Act 1993 (1993 No 108).

15 Repeals and savings

(1)

The following enactments are hereby consequentially repealed:

(a)

the Unclaimed Moneys Act 1908:

(b), (c)

Amendment(s) incorporated in the Act(s):

(d)

the Unclaimed Moneys Amendment Act 1958.

(2)

Subject to section 11, the enactments hereby repealed shall continue to apply, as if this Act had not been passed, to all money which before the commencement of this Act has become unclaimed money under any provision of any such enactment.

Schedule

s 6(1)

Register of money unclaimed held by [name of holder] on 1 June [year]

Name, occupation, and last known address of owner on books:

Total amount due to owner:

Description of unclaimed money:

Date of posting notice to owner:

Unclaimed money paid to owner: [date ] [amount]

Reprints notes
1 General

This is a reprint of the Unclaimed Money Act 1971 that incorporates all the amendments to that Act as at the date of the last amendment to it.

2 Legal status

Reprints are presumed to correctly state, as at the date of the reprint, the law enacted by the principal enactment and by any amendments to that enactment. Section 18 of the Legislation Act 2012 provides that this reprint, published in electronic form, has the status of an official version under section 17 of that Act. A printed version of the reprint produced directly from this official electronic version also has official status.

3 Editorial and format changes

Editorial and format changes to reprints are made using the powers under sections 24 to 26 of the Legislation Act 2012. See also http://www.pco.parliament.govt.nz/editorial-conventions/.

4 Amendments incorporated in this reprint

Financial Reporting Amendment Act 2014 (2014 No 64): section 17

Auctioneers Act 2013 (2013 No 148): section 28(3)

Companies Amendment Act 2013 (2013 No 111): section 14

Criminal Procedure Act 2011 (2011 No 81): section 413

Real Estate Agents Act 2008 (2008 No 66): section 173

Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 (2006 No 1): section 348

Motor Vehicle Sales Act 2003 (2003 No 12): section 145

Income Tax Act 1994 (1994 No 164): section YB 1

Companies Amendment Act 1993 (1993 No 108): section 63

Private Savings Banks (Transfer of Undertakings) Act 1992 (1992 No 21): section 22(1)

Unclaimed Money Amendment Act 1990 (1990 No 65)

Public Finance Act 1989 (1989 No 44): section 83(7)

Unclaimed Money Amendment Act 1988 (1988 No 9)

Government Life Insurance Corporation Act 1987 (1987 No 70): section 34(3)

State Services Conditions of Employment Amendment Act 1987 (1987 No 17): section 16(4)

Constitution Act 1986 (1986 No 114): section 29(2)

Law Practitioners Act 1982 (1982 No 123): section 193(1)

District Courts Amendment Act 1979 (1979 No 125): section 18(2)