Amelia Wade is a court reporter for the New Zealand Herald

IRD sits on $112m of your cash

Hundreds of thousands of people able to make a claim on stack of money which is held in a Crown Account

More than $490,000 has been paid out since July 1 last year. Photo / Thinkstock
More than $490,000 has been paid out since July 1 last year. Photo / Thinkstock

More than $112 million of unclaimed money is just waiting for its owners to come forward.

And if you think you're one of the hundreds of thousands of people with a claim, you must prove to Inland Revenue the money is rightfully yours. One New Zealander is owed almost $400,000.

The department has already paid out more than $490,000 since July 1 last year. And in the financial year to June 2012, $878,759 was returned to its rightful owners

Inland Revenue has more than 211,400 cases of unclaimed money owed to people, organisations or charities. There is a publicly accessible list of 71,000 names on its website, some dating back to the early 1970s, with details of how much is owed to them so people can check if they've got money sitting and waiting.

The Government department said the largest sum held for one person is $371,664.05. This person can find themselves on the IRD's website.

People with unclaimed money include:

• Those who have not used a cheque or savings account for more than six years.

• Those who have stopped making payments on a life insurance policy.

• Those who have moved without leaving a forwarding address.

• Executors of deceased estates.

Under the Unclaimed Monies Act 1971, money left untouched for more than six years must be paid to the Inland Revenue Department which retains it until it is claimed. Inland Revenue administers the names and amounts as part of Crown Revenue.

The money is held indefinitely, and claimants can apply at any time.

The owed amounts can increase slightly during the six years before they are transferred to Inland Revenue, as the financial institutions are required to include interest for the time it was in their possession. But once it is transferred, no interest is added while the money is held by the Crown Account.

People who want to claim money need to forward their name, address, IRD number, and proof of identity, such as a copy of a birth certificate, driver's licence or passport, to Inland Revenue.

Once a claim is received, the claimant will be asked to provide the department with specific detailed information for verification. Once this information is checked, and the application approved, a letter of confirmation is sent out stating that amount will be refunded in 15 working days. Crown Revenue will then issue a cheque, or direct credit payment, into the claimant's account.

Inland Revenue encouraged anyone who thought they might have a claim to contact the department.

They can email Inland Revenue at or write to Unclaimed Monies, Inland Revenue, P O Box 38222, Wellington Mail Centre.

- NZ Herald

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