Requirements when opening a trust account
When opening a trust account, licensees must notify the authorised deposit-taking institution in writing that a trust account is being opened as required under the Property, Stock and Business Agents Act 2002.
If when opening the trust account it is held by a corporation, the trust account is to be in the name of the corporation. Otherwise, the trust account must be in the name of the licensee or the firm of licensees of which the licensee is a member.
The name of the licensee or firm of licensees or corporation is to appear as a prefix of the account name, followed by any other necessary identifier of the trust account.
The words 'Trust Account' must appear in the name of the trust account and all cheques drawn on the trust account.
An online registration system for general trust accounts is now available through NSW OneGov (previously called the NSW Government Licensing Service). From 1 January 2015, this supersedes the previous standard forms; for opening a trust account (the 'blue form') and for closing a trust account (the 'green form').
Unique identifying numbers for general trust accounts
From 1 January 2015, under the Property Stock and Business Agents Regulation 2014:
•A licensee who opens a general trust account must provide the authorised deposit-taking institution (bank) with a unique identifying number obtained from NSW Fair Trading (through NSW OneGov).
•The authorised deposit-taking institution lodges its monthly returns using this unique identifying number.
•Licensees maintaining a trust account as at 31 December 2014 have a grace period until 30 June 2015 to comply.
Access unique identifying numbers for new and existing general trust accounts online through NSW OneGov.
Each general trust account needs a unique identifying number. You will need to register each account separately (if you maintain multiple general trust accounts). Nominate which unique identifying number is associated with each account with your bank.
If the trust account is held by a corporation, the trust account must be registered using the corporation's licence number.
NSW OneGov will provide licensees with the necessary form(s) to notify the authorised deposit-taking institution in writing that a new or existing general trust account has been registered, and a unique identifying number issued.
NSW OneGov will also notify NSW Fair Trading when a general trust account has been closed and provide the licensee with the form to record the account closure details. The form should be kept by the licensee.
Where do I register online?
From 1 January 2015, access the NSW OneGov - Trust account registration page to obtain a unique identifying number for general trust accounts you maintain or intend to open.
Complete the online process by entering your licence number and email address. NSW OneGov will send you a confirmation email with a notification form attached. Print the attached form and lodge it with your financial institution.
Unclaimed trust money
For reporting requirements about unclaimed trust money, and trust money held by a former licensee or personal representative of a deceased licensee, visit our Unclaimed trust money page.
Authorised deposit-taking institutions’ requirements
The Act sets out requirements for approved authorised deposit-taking institutions with regard to:
•calculating interest on agents' trust accounts
•paying a prescribed proportion of interest earned on agents' trust accounts to the Property Services Statutory Interest Account
•monthly reporting to the Director General,
•annual auditor’s certificate to the Director General.
Exempt trust accounts
You are not required to notify NSW Fair Trading when opening a separate trust account:
•on the instructions of the client to whom those funds belong, or
•for the exclusive benefit of a vendor and purchaser of land.
These separate trust accounts are exempt from directing interest to NSW Fair Trading.
IMPORTANT: The following 'green form' is being phased out. It may be used in the interim to notify Fair Trading that a general trust account, not yet registered with NSW OneGov, has been closed.
Notice of closing a trust account (known as the green form)
Before 1 January 2015, you could use this form to legally notify Fair Trading of closing a trust account.
The 'green form' needed to be signed by the licensee (in duplicate):
•Original – sent by the agent to NSW Fair Trading, Locked Bag 5066, Parramatta NSW 2144 within 14 days after closing the trust account.
•Copy – kept by the agent.
Download the Trust account(s) notice (green form) in PDF format (size: 8kb) on the NSW Fair Trading website.
Contact us now to see how our accounting experts can help.