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Unclaimed money

Home > Publications > 2021 > Special report on the Taxation (Annual Rates for 2020–21, Feasibility Expenditure, and Remedial Matters) Act 2021 > Unclaimed money

Special report on the Taxation (Annual Rates for 2020–21, Feasibility Expenditure, and Remedial Matters) Act 2021


April 2021


Unclaimed money

The Taxation (Annual Rates for 2020–21, Feasibility Expenditure and Remedial Matters) Act 2021 (“ARFERM Act”) was passed on 23 March 2021 and received the Royal assent on 30 March 2021. This Act amends the Unclaimed Money Act 1971 (“UCM Act”). The amendments modernise the unclaimed money regime with the aim of simplifying the process of reporting and transferring unclaimed money to the Commissioner of Inland Revenue. The reforms also recognise that customers are increasingly interacting with their accounts in new ways (for example, online or using institution specific software such as an “app”).


Unclaimed money refers to money which has become detached or somehow disconnected from its owner for a given period. A common example is money which has been left untouched in a bank account by its owner for several years. That is, the owner of the account has not made any withdrawals or deposits, or provided written instructions to the bank. Once the money has been left in an account for a given period, it will become unclaimed under the UCM Act. It is then passed from the holder (for example, bank or service provider) to Inland Revenue, who will hold the money until the owner claims it.

The unclaimed money regime had not been reviewed substantially since its enactment in 1908. Accordingly, the administrative procedures required by the UCM Act were reflective of an era in which the use of paper and postage dominated administration. Inland Revenue’s ongoing transformation programme provided an opportunity to modernise the administration of unclaimed money. The reforms make the administration of unclaimed money more efficient by lowering compliance costs for holders of unclaimed money and make it easier for owners to be reunited with their money.

Key features

The reforms to the UCM Act include the following:

  • Reducing the amount of time which must pass before money is deemed unclaimed by replacing the previous deeming periods of 6 and 25 years with a single period of five years for all funds.
  • Expanding the forms of account interaction which will prevent money from becoming unclaimed to include new forms of account activity (for example, online banking).
  • Allowing holders to, in limited circumstances, transfer money to the Commissioner before it is unclaimed.
  • The repeal of the requirement for a holder to keep and maintain a register of unclaimed money.
  • A quarterly reporting regime (which will allow holders to transfer unclaimed money to Inland Revenue on a quarterly basis).
  • Transitional provisions to assist holders who will require further time to update their systems to align with the reforms.

Application date

The amendments apply from the date of Royal assent, with the exception of section 178 of the ARFERM Act, which took effect on 1 March 2021.

Detailed analysis

The Amendment Act amends the Tax Administration Act 1994, the Unclaimed Money Act 1971, and the KiwiSaver Act 2006. These amendments support the administration of unclaimed money.

The definition of unclaimed money (section 4 of the UCM Act)

This section refers to money that is more than $100. This is intended to refer to money in the traditional sense. The UCM Act is not intended to apply to other stores of value such as units in Portfolio Investment Entities (PIE). Money covered by the Public Finance Act 1989 is excluded by section 5(3) of the UCM Act.

Inland Revenue is aware that some PIE fund managers choose between transferring unclaimed money to the Commissioner under the UCM Act or to the Crown under the new section 149 of the Trusts Act 2019. There is merit in allowing the flexibility to transfer unclaimed money under both Acts. As noted, units in PIEs are not included within the definition of unclaimed money. Therefore, although Inland Revenue will not accept units in PIEs, it will remain possible for fund managers to transfer the redeemed units (in money) to the Commissioner once it has remained in the holder’s possession for the required deeming period (or where the holder wishes to transfer the money earlier).

Example 35

B&E Limited is a PIE fund manager which administers several PIE funds. Natisha is an investor in the Ultra risky fund which has high volatility. Each year Natisha is contacted by an employee of B&E to see if she is happy with her investment mandate. Over the last two years B&E has not received any reply from Natisha and some letters have been returned to B&E as undeliverable.

Three years later B&E decides that Natisha’s investment is effectively unclaimed money. B&Es terms and conditions provide that if they cannot contact a client after four years, they can convert the investment to cash, which they do for Natisha’s investment. At this point the unclaimed money deeming period starts. However, B&E decides that it has made reasonable efforts to contact Natisha and decides to pay the funds to Inland Revenue as unclaimed money before the five-year deeming period has ended.

Monetary threshold (section 4 of the UCM Act)

Amounts of $100 or less are not unclaimed money for the purposes of the UCM Act. However, the UCM Act retains the alternative use provision in place under the previous UCM Act, which allows fund holders to transfer amounts of $100 or less to the Commissioner as unclaimed money. Holders have a choice between paying these amounts to the Commissioner or putting them to another purpose (such as donating them to charity). Money applied for the benefit of the holder, or another use, will cease to be unclaimed money. However, this does not affect any claim that the owner of the money may have against the holder for repayment. Amounts which are retained by a holder which are not unclaimed money will be income in the hands of the fund holder.[6]

Example 36

Crimson Permanent Assurance Limited (Crimson) is a life insurance company that provides life insurance for pets at very low premiums (with very low pay outs). Over the last few years Crimson has received many claims from clients but have been unable to locate the owners after the claim has been made. There are 24 claimants and all the claims are under $100. Despite trying to contact the claimants through multiple channels, Crimson has received no reply from any of them.

Crimson holds the money for five years and then decides these claimants are never going to claim the funds and so decides to donate them to a charity that finds homes for former greyhound racing dogs. As the money does not meet the definition of unclaimed money (being $100 or less) Crimson can do whatever it wishes with it, although they will need to return the amount as taxable income for the year and a donation credit for the donation.

Under the former section 4(1), any amounts owed to the same owner were combined to determine whether the value of the unclaimed money was $100 or less. This was designed to avoid amounts which were individually $100 or less but collectively more than $100 being applied to some other purpose rather than transferred to the Commissioner. This approach is preserved under section 4(3) of the amended UCM Act.

Length of time until money is unclaimed (section 4 of the UCM Act)

Previously, the length of time which was required to pass before money was deemed unclaimed was either 6 or 25 years from the date of the owner’s last interaction with the holder, depending on the type of funds.

The reforms consolidate the prior two deeming periods into one uniform deeming period of five years. In other words, the standard deeming period of five years will apply to all amounts of money.

To avoid engaging the deeming period, an owner must request information or provide instructions to the holder about the money or another matter, within five years. If owner does not do so, the money will be deemed unclaimed. The deeming period will commence from the date of the owner’s last interaction with the money.

A common issue for some holders arises from money which is discovered during a routine financial remediation process. These amounts can now be paid to the Commissioner immediately where there is little prospect of reuniting them with their owner (see “Transfer of money to the Commissioner before it becomes unclaimed” below).

Account activity (section 4(3)(a) of the UCM Act)

To recognise modern forms of account interaction which will prevent money from becoming unclaimed, section 4(3)(a)(i) and (ii) now refer to owners “requesting information” or “providing instructions” to the holder. This includes, for example, customer interaction through internet banking (for example, where a customer views their account balance online). This broadens the 1970s definition of forms of account activity from making a deposit, withdrawal or providing instructions in writing.

Institutional approach to account activity (section 4(3)(a) of the UCM Act)

The reforms apply a customer’s account activity on one account to all accounts the customer holds with the same institution. This is reflected in the wording of section 4(3)(a)(i) and (ii) which refer to the owner requesting information or providing instructions to the holder about “another matter”. This is intended to avoid money at the same institution from becoming unclaimed while the owner remains engaged with their funds. Account activity will also include an owner’s interaction with a joint account or another product held with the same institution (for example, an account holders’ cash-PIE investment).

Example 37

Sabena has $1,000 in a savings account with Money Bags Bank (MBB). She is keen to save the money, so she decides to leave the $1,000 untouched and doesn’t withdraw any money for ten years. She also holds an on-call account with MBB which she accesses frequently for her everyday purchases.

The institutional approach to account activity means that Sabena’s interaction with her on-call account will prevent the funds in either account from becoming unclaimed.

The broad wording of this section gives banks and other holders the ability to determine for themselves whether customers have been interacting with another of their accounts at that institution. Holders are expected to apply their best judgement when determining account interaction, as the nature of account interaction may vary between institutions.

Transfer of money to the Commissioner before it becomes unclaimed (section 4(3)(b) of the UCM Act)

Historically there was no ability for holders to pay unclaimed money to the Commissioner before the expiry of the six or 25-year holding periods specified under the previous regime.

In some circumstances, however, Inland Revenue appreciates that there is little to be gained by requiring holders to retain amounts owed to former clients where they have identified that the owner is unable to be contacted.

To assist holders, section 4(3)(b) allows holders to choose to pay money which has not yet become unclaimed to the Commissioner where they have made reasonable efforts under section 5B and have been unsuccessful in locating the owner. There is no requirement that a holder first contact the Commissioner before transferring such money to Inland Revenue.

Allowing holders this option is intended to increase the chances of an owner being reunited with their money. This may assist holders who owe, for example, amounts identified during a routine remediation process or backdated holiday pay.

Example 38

Really Big Bank (RBB) conducts a financial remediation process and identifies that it has overcharged their client (Mr. Bach) $105 in account fees. However, before RBB realises its error, Mr. Bach closes his accounts with RBB and moves to a remote location in the Northern Territory.

Once its process is complete, RBB seeks to contact Mr. Bach to return the funds and apologise for the error. However, despite its best efforts, Mr. Bach cannot be located. While the refund of fees owed to Mr. Bach will become unclaimed money five years from when the error first arose, RBB takes the view that there is little sense in it retaining the funds any longer.

To increase the chances of reuniting Mr. Bach with his money, RBB chooses to pay the $105 to the Commissioner as unclaimed money before the five-year deeming period has expired.

Treatment of renewing term deposits (section 4(6)(b) of the UCM Act)

The reforms recognise that it is common for term deposits to be automatically reinvested on similar terms and conditions upon maturity. The amended section 4 refers to these as “renewing-term arrangements.” The definition in section 4(6)(b) is intended to cover a deposit which contains an option for repayment but is treated as reinvested where the option is not exercised.

There may be situations in which a term deposit is the only investment which a customer has with a financial institution. In such a situation, the standard deeming period would conventionally apply five years from the date the customer last provided instructions to the bank.

To ease the administrative burden on institutions and depositors, section 4(3)(a)(ii) provides an exception to the usual deeming period. Where the deposit is the only investment which the customer has with an institution, the five-year deeming period will not commence until the second term (that is, first rollover) of the renewing term arrangement.

Once the deeming period starts and five years has passed with no interaction, the money will be deemed unclaimed money. However, to avoid breaking a deposit mid-term, section 4(3)(a)(ii) prevents a deposit becoming unclaimed money before the end of a term.

Example 39

Josh is a customer of Conservative Cash Bank (CCB) but he decides to try his chances at investing in a one-off account with Money Bags Bank (MBB). He invests $1,500 in a two-year term deposit with an option for repayment, but which is treated as reinvested where that option is not exercised. This is his only investment with MBB. Provided Josh does not exercise the option for repayment, the timeline looks as follows:

Investment period  Period of investment Total length of time unclaimed
Period one Two years N/A
Period two Two years Two years
Period three Two years Four years
Period four Two years Six years

Josh’s first period of two years does not engage the unclaimed money regime. The UCM Act views the first period of investment as a free period. Once the term deposit rolls over for another two years, the unclaimed money deeming period begins. However, Josh does not have any linked accounts with MBB and does not check his balances over this time.

Period two represents years one and two of the deeming period. Without any directions from Josh, the money rolls over into period three, which represents years three and four of the deeming period.

When the money rolls over into period four of the renewing term arrangement, Josh has completely forgotten about the money and does not interact with MBB. The unclaimed money deeming period stops at five years, but the money will not be deemed unclaimed until the end of period four. This removes the need for the bank to transfer a deposit before the end of the fourth term. In this example, the money will become unclaimed once six years have elapsed since the first roll-over.

Holder (section 5(2) of the UCM Act)

The reforms allow a person, firm, body or institution which holds money:

  • which is not unclaimed money under section 4(2) or 4(7) of the UCM Act, and
  • if it excluded by section 4(5), it meets the requirements of section 4(7)

to elect to be a holder under the UCM Act.

Obligations of holders

Reasonable efforts (section 5B of the UCM Act)

The reforms require a holder to make “reasonable efforts” to locate an owner of unclaimed money. Section 8(1) of UCM Act requires that holders have met this requirement within one month and 20 days of the end of their reporting period (see below, “Payment and transfer of unclaimed money.”) However, for some holders, the requirement to make “reasonable efforts” to locate the owner of the money may already have been met owing to past attempts to contact the owner having been unsuccessful.

The obligation on a holder to make reasonable efforts is intended to encourage holders to use their resources and the information they hold efficiently. This is a move away from the formalistic process for contacting owners prescribed by the previous legislation. Holders are required to pursue the avenues of contact which they consider will be most productive. This will require holders to exercise reasonable judgement.

However, this is not intended to impose additional compliance costs upon holders and does not require them to pursue avenues of contact which they know will prove unproductive. For example, a holder is not required to attempt to contact an owner using a phone number or email address which is considered or known to be no longer current.

Example 40

Fantastic Filing Bank Ltd (FFB) has many customers who hold renewing term arrangements. Every so often, FFB reaches out to account holders to provide an account update. FFB has tried to update Baz who holds a single account with the bank.

Baz does not interact with the account for three years. During this time, FFB sends two emails to update him on his account but they both “bounce back” as undeliverable. FFB decides to send a letter to his last recorded physical address, but the letter is returned to sender as Baz no longer resides at that address.

As FFB’s attempts to contact Baz using known avenues prior to the conclusion of the deeming period are reasonable, FFB will not have to repeat its efforts to contact Baz once the five-year deeming period has elapsed.

The obligation to make reasonable efforts simply requires holders to use the information available to them in each situation. To optimise the customer experience, holders may wish to develop their own guidelines to be applied in accordance with the contact options available to the holder in each case.

Inland Revenue would expect most holders would, in providing good customer service, make multiple attempts to contact the customer before the deeming period ends. The holder may, at its discretion, send a final notice to the customer once the funds become unclaimed, but this is not required.

Example 41

Another Institution Ltd (AIL) is not up to speed with the unclaimed money rules. An employee of AIL notices that one account of $625 has just become unclaimed money. AIL’s internal system has three avenues of contact recorded for the account owner: an email address, a cell phone number, and a physical address. Standard practice at AIL is to send a pre-formatted letter to the owner’s physical address because this saves time.

However, in this case, the letter is returned as the customer no longer resides at that address. AIL does not attempt to contact the owner by cell phone or email, although it has no reason to believe they are not current.

The Commissioner would not consider AIL’s actions satisfy the standard of reasonable efforts required by section 5B. Ideally, AIL would attempt to contact the customer using the other avenues of contact which it has available to it.

Information collection and transfer (section 5B(2) of the UCM Act)

This section requires holders of unclaimed money to provide the Commissioner with any information in their possession or control relating to the owner of the money and the amount. Section 8(1) of the UCM Act requires holders to provide this information to the Commissioner within 1 month and 20 days of the end of their reporting period (see below, “Payment and transfer of unclaimed money”). Information which holders should provide to the Commissioner includes (in summary):

  • how the money came to the holder
  • the identity and whereabouts of the owner (if known
  • why the money belongs to the owner, and
  • any identifying data (for example, the owner’s IRD number).

For example, a bank which submits information to Inland Revenue using the relevant schedule could categorise money as arising from a range of sources including bonds, credit cards, investments or bank charges. The bank could also use the space within the schedule to note any particulars associated with the owner (such as the owner’s name, date of birth, contact details and IRD number). A detailed guide to the transfer of unclaimed money may be obtained from Inland Revenue.

However, this is not intended to impose any added information collection requirements on holders of unclaimed money. Rather, holders should provide the Commissioner with any readily available information which they hold relating to the owner or the money. This will assist the Commissioner in verifying the owner.

Inland Revenue will provide holders with an electronic template to facilitate the transfer of relevant information from the holder to Inland Revenue. To send the template, holders will need to register as a holder in myIR and submit their schedule online.

Maintaining a register (section 6 and 7 (register sections) of the UCM Act repealed)

A holder is no longer required to maintain a publicly available register of unclaimed money. Holders are instead encouraged to maintain internal records which align with the information collection requirements of section 5B. Inland Revenue will supply holders with appropriate electronic schedules for submitting information.

Payment and transfer of unclaimed money (section 8 of the UCM Act)

The reforms institute a reporting and transfer regime. This, in summary, allows holders to combine all the money which became unclaimed during a reporting period and transfer it to Inland Revenue within one month and 20 days of the end of the reporting period.

Reporting period

Section 8(5) sets out the reporting periods available to a holder. Holders are expected to report quarterly. A quarter is defined in section 2 as a period of three consecutive calendar months ending on the last day of March, June, September, or December. Holders may apply to the Commissioner to seek a longer reporting period of two consecutive quarters either as a “one-off” or on an ongoing basis.

Table 3: The UCM Act’s reporting and transfer periods
Reporting period Transfer of money and information by
1 January – 31 March 20 May
1 April – 30 June 20 August
1 July – 30 September 20 November
1 October – 31 December 20 February

Example 42

Really Big Bank (RBB) has noted that three deposits of money will be deemed unclaimed on the 1st of March. These will be reported as unclaimed for the quarter 1 January – 31 March.

RBB will have one month and 20 days from the end of the quarter to make reasonable efforts to locate the owners. However, as the money became unclaimed at the beginning of March, RBB can start seeking the owners in early March. If the owners cannot be located, it must transfer any relevant information and the deposits to the Commissioner by 20 May.

Transitional periods

Due to the change in timelines from the old deeming periods to the new five-year deeming period, transitional provisions are necessary. To assist in explaining the money that will be affected by the reforms, it is helpful to distinguish between the “flow” and “stock” of unclaimed money.


For present purposes, “flow” refers to money which becomes unclaimed (that is, satisfies the five-year deeming period) the day on which the Amendment Act receives Royal assent, and in the days which follow.

Holders of money that becomes unclaimed the day the Amendment Act receives Royal assent will be subject to the new reporting requirements unless they apply for the extended reporting period available to applicants in the new section 8(5)(c) of the Act. However, for most holders, the first reporting period will commence on 1 April 2021 (refer to table 3 above).

Where a holder requires more time to update its computer systems to comply with the reforms, the holder will need to apply to the Commissioner for an extension of the reporting period. Where a holder receives the maximum available extension, the relevant reporting and transfer dates are as follows:

Table 4: Reporting timetable for money that becomes unclaimed on or after 30 March 2021
Amendment Act receives assent Date money becomes UCM under the new definition First reporting period end date Date to transfer UCM and file return by Maximum extension of first reporting period Extension to transfer UCM and file return by
30 March 2021 30 March 2021 30 June 2021 20 August 2021 31 March 2023 20 May 2023

Holders who are granted the full extension will be reporting on all amounts deemed unclaimed money over the preceding 24-month period.

Normal reporting requirements will then apply to these holders’ second reporting period.

This means that holders will be required to report quarterly unless the holder has applied for an alternative reporting period of two consecutive quarters (that is, six months) which has been approved by the Commissioner under section 8(5)(b).


The reforms also contain transitional provisions to deal with the large amount of money which will be rendered unclaimed money overnight once the reforms implement the five-year qualifying period.

The issue of “stock” arises because the prior regime had longer deeming periods of either six or 25 years depending on the category of unclaimed money.[7] Once the reforms take effect, the five-year deeming period will apply “instantly” to the pool of money (“stock”) which had not yet qualified as unclaimed money under the previous deeming periods.

Money which falls into the category of “stock” must be transferred to the Commissioner within the period which is two years after the Amendment Act receives Royal assent. This is expressed in section 210(5) of the ARFERM Act 2021. As the reforms received the Royal assent on 30 March 2021, the “stock” of unclaimed money must be transferred to the Commissioner no later than 30 March 2023.This deadline applies irrespective of any extension in reporting period applied for under section 8(5)(c) of the Act.

Unclaimed money yet to be transferred under the previous regime

The previous regime imposed a reporting calendar upon holders. For the 2021 year, this ran from 1 June 2020 to 31 May 2021. If the UCM Act had remained unchanged, the required steps of a holder in 2021would have looked like this:

Table 5: Due dates under the former regime
01/06/2020– 31/05/2021   01/06/2021  30/06/2021 30/09/2021   31/10/2021
UCM accrues Holders enter particulars of unclaimed money arising in the past year into their registers. Holders write to owners of unclaimed money by post. Holders send list of unclaimed money to the Commissioner. Holders transfer any remaining unclaimed money to the Commissioner.

Money deemed unclaimed between 1 June 2020 and the day prior to enactment would usually not have been transferred to Inland Revenue until 31 October 2021. However, as the reforms come into force mid-way through this reporting calendar, some holders will hold money which has become unclaimed but has not yet been transferred to Inland Revenue.

This category of money does not fit easily within the categories of “stock” and “flow” which we have described above. Therefore, to assist holders in managing the transfer of this unclaimed money, (section 210(7) of the ARFERM Act 2021) allows holders to transfer it over two years, along with the category of “stock” noted above. This means that holders must transfer such money within the period which is two years after the day the reforms receive Royal assent.

Capacity of trustees

The reforms insert a new section 11B which affirms the principle that a person acting in the capacity of a trustee of a trust acts in a capacity which is separate from the person’s other capacities. These other capacities include the person’s personal capacity, their capacity as a body corporate which is a legal person, or as a trustee of another trust.

Therefore, in applying the institutional approach to account interaction, holders should be mindful that a person’s interaction with an account of a trust of which they are a trustee cannot be taken as interaction with an account which they hold in their personal capacity, or in their capacity as trustee of another trust.

However, there will be situations in which a person’s interaction with an institution may establish interaction in more than one capacity. An example might be where a person is able to log into his or her online banking “portal” and view both personal accounts and any accounts of which they are a trustee. Accessing accounts in this way will constitute interaction with all the accounts accessed. The deeming period will therefore not commence in connection with any of the linked accounts.

Amounts no longer claimable under the reforms (sections 11(6) – (8) of the UCM Act)

The reforms make three categories of money received or held by the Commissioner unclaimable. These are amounts which:

  • have been unclaimed money for 25 years or more
  • have no identifying information, or
  • are $100 or less.

Amounts that fall within these categories are removed from the list of unclaimed money by the Commissioner and may not be claimed by their owners. In each case, these amounts cease to be unclaimed money when they meet the requirements for delisting by the Commissioner. The Crown becomes the owner of this money.

Amounts aged 25 years or older

Previously there was no time limit on an owner’s ability to claim money held by the Commissioner. This meant an owner could make a claim for money which had accrued as long ago as the regime’s beginning in 1908. However, the longer the money remains with Inland Revenue, the less likely it is to be returned to its owner. This is typically due to incomplete information or a lack of eligible claimants.

The reforms introduce a time bar of 25 years upon an owner’s ability to claim money from the Commissioner. A time bar allows Inland Revenue to focus public resources on the amounts of unclaimed money which have the best chance of being reunited with their owners, while also allowing sufficient time for owners to claim their money.

Un-associated amounts

Amounts of unclaimed money which have no information associated with them are referred to as “un-associated amounts”. It is impossible for the Commissioner or the fund owners to establish an entitlement to these amounts.

Amounts $100 or less

Although holders are not required to pay amounts of $100 or less to the Commissioner, they may transfer such amounts to Inland Revenue if they choose.

Amendments to other Acts

Defining the UCM Act as an Inland Revenue Act (schedule 1 of the Tax Administration Act 1994)

The reforms amend the Tax Administration Act 1994 (TAA) to bring the Unclaimed Money Act 1971 within the Inland Revenue Acts included in Schedule 1 of the TAA. This will allow Inland Revenue to use the existing tax information which it holds in its system to assist in validating claims. This should increase the likelihood of owners being reunited with their money.

Disclosure permitted (schedule 7, part A, clause 13C of the TAA)

As the UCM Act will become an Inland Revenue Act, administrative matters will be covered by the general confidentiality provisions of the TAA in section 18. The amendment creates a specific exclusion from the confidentiality provisions of the TAA which will allow the publication of unclaimed money data.

This will allow the Commissioner to publish searchable information on Inland Revenue’s website and make it easier for owners to find and claim funds. This information will include the name of the owner and the amount, the name of the holder who sent Inland Revenue the unclaimed money, and broad physical location of where the money was located (for example, Christchurch).

Due to the inclusion as an Inland Revenue Act, the bespoke secrecy provision in section 12 of the UCM Act is no longer necessary and has been repealed.

Extension of binding rulings regime (section 91C(1)(db) of the TAA)

The TAA has been amended to include the UCM Act within the binding rulings regime. This allows Inland Revenue to make binding rulings in respect of matters affected by the UCM Act to offer certainty to taxpayers as to the Commissioner’s application of the UCM Act.

Alignment of the KiwiSaver Act 2006 with the reforms (section 83(1)(a) of the KiwiSaver Act 2006)

Section 83(1)(a) of the KiwiSaver Act 2006 deals with KiwiSaver contributions that the Commissioner is unable to administer in accordance with the UCM Act due to insufficient information. Inland Revenue acts as a holder for the purpose of these funds and is subject to the unclaimed money rules. This amendment aligns section 83 of the KiwiSaver Act 2006 with the new five-year deeming period.

Consolidation of deeming period under KiwiSaver Act 2006 (section 83(3)(ab) of the KiwiSaver Act 2006)

Previously, under the KiwiSaver Act 2006, different dates could apply to determine when employee and employer KiwiSaver contributions were deemed to be in the Commissioner’s possession. This could create administrative issues where it has not been possible to associate the contribution with a specific member. To simplify this process, the date the money is in the Commissioner’s possession will be deemed to be the last day of the month to which the employment income information applies for the purposes of unclaimed KiwiSaver contributions.

Allowing use of unclaimed money to offset a tax liability (section 173V of the TAA)

The reforms insert the new section 173V into the TAA. This section allows a taxpayer with a valid claim to an amount of unclaimed money held by the Commissioner to apply all or some of that amount to a liability the taxpayer owes to Inland Revenue. This option is available to taxpayers on a voluntary basis.


[6] See Inland Revenue public rulings- BR Pub 17/01 Income Tax – Treatment of unclaimed amounts of $100 or less and BR Pub 17/02 Income Tax – Treatment of unclaimed amounts of $100 or less- amounts held on trust.  

[7] These two categories were described as fixed term deposits and renewing term deposits. In the case of fixed term deposits, the prior regime required the money to have been unclaimed by its owner for a period of 6 years. Conversely, in the case of a renewing term deposit, the prior regime required the money to have been left for a period of 25 years.