businesses
English

Trust accounts and audit requirements 

Licensees under the Conveyancers Licensing Act 2003 are required to hold clients’ funds in a trust account kept at an authorised deposit-taking institution in New South Wales and approved by the Director-General, Department of Finance and Services. For a list of authorised institutions, go to the Trust accounts page.

Conveyancer trust accounts
Trust account audit requirements

Conveyancer trust accounts 

Licensee requirements when opening a trust account 

When opening an account, Conveyancers are required to notify the authorised deposit-taking institution in writing that it is a trust account required under the Conveyancers Licensing Act 2003.

If the trust account is held by a corporation, the trust account is to be in the name of the corporation. In any other case, the trust account is to 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.

The Commissioner has provided standard trust account notice forms for this purpose.

Go to top of page iconTop of page

Trust account(s) notice (The conveyancer blue form) 

The trust account(s) notice form is the appropriate method for a Conveyancer to give notification to an authorised deposit-taking institution, at the time of opening, of the following type of accounts:

  • general trust accounts
  • a separate trust account (but excluding exclusive benefit of vendor and purchaser of land accounts), where instructions to open the account has not been obtained.

This form meets the notification requirements for the interest of those account(s) to be directed to Fair Trading.

This form is to be signed by the licensee (in triplicate) for lodgement with the authorised deposit-taking institution:

  • original to be retained by the authorised deposit-taking institution
  • duplicate to be sent by the licensee to Fair Trading (signed by the authorised deposit-taking institution), to the address indicated on the form
  • triplicate to be retained by the licensee (signed by the authorised deposit-taking institution).

This form can list up to three trust accounts.

View or download the Trust account(s) notice (blue form) in PDF format (size: 64kb).

Go to top of page iconTop of page

Trust account(s) exemption notice (The conveyancer pink form) 

The trust account(s) exemption notice form is to be used whenever a conveyancer opens a separate account:

  • on the instructions of the client to whom those funds belong, or,
  • for the exclusive benefit of a vendor and a purchaser of land.

These types of accounts are exempt from the requirement for interest to be directed to Fair Trading.

This form is to be signed by the licensee, (in duplicate), for lodgement with the authorised deposit-taking institution:

  • original to be retained by the authorised deposit-taking institution
  • duplicate to be retained by the licensee (signed by the authorised deposit-taking institutiuon).
NOTE -  Do not send the duplicate copy of this form to Fair Trading, keep for your records. 

This form can list up to three trust accounts.

View or download the Trust account(s) exemption notice (pink form) in PDF format (size: 62kb).

Go to top of page iconTop of page

Closure of a trust account 

On closure of a trust account, the licensee must notify the Commissioner for Fair Trading that the account is closed. This must happen within 14 days after closure. The letter of notification should, if available, include a copy of the last bank statement. It should be sent to the following address:

Office of Finance and Services
NSW Fair Trading
Real Estate Audit Section
Locked Bag 5066
Parramatta NSW 2124

Go to top of page iconTop of page

Unclaimed trust money 

Information on the reporting requirements about unclaimed trust money and trust money held by a former licencee or personal representative of a deceased licensee, is available on the Unclaimed trust money - Conveyancers web page.

Go to top of page iconTop of page

Trust account audit requirements 

Under the Act, the records of Conveyancers in relation to the handling of trust money must be audited.

NOTE - Audit documentation relating to the 2013/14 financial year will not be mailed to licensees. The required documentation should be downloaded from this web page.

Who is required to submit an audit? 

The following people must submit an audit of their trust account to NSW Fair Trading, if they received or held trust money during the financial year ending 30 June 2014:

  • a licensee
  • a former licensee, or
  • a personal representative of a licensee.

Go to top of page iconTop of page

When must the audit be lodged? 

The audit must be lodged within 3 months after the end of the audit period. The audit must be lodged with Fair Trading no later than 30 September 2014.

If a trust account audit is not lodged by the due date, licensees could be disqualified from holding a licence and possibly prevented from renewing a licence.

Where a licensed corporation receives and is responsible for trust funds, a trust account audit must be lodged by the licensed corporation. If an individual licensee receives and is responsible for trust money, a trust account audit must be lodged by the individual licensee.

Go to top of page iconTop of page

Who can conduct the audit? 

Auditors must be registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) or be qualified under s.115(1)(b) of the Act.

Check that an auditor is registered by searching for their details on the ASIC website.

Go to top of page iconTop of page

Audit for 2013/14 financial year 

To prepare an audit report for trust money held during the 2013/14 financial year, download the following two documents:

Audits must be submitted to:

Office of Finance and Services
NSW Fair Trading
Locked Bag 5066
Parramatta NSW 2124

If you have any queries about the audit requirements, contact Fair Trading on 13 32 20.

Go to top of page iconTop of page

If no trust money held in 2013/14 

If a licensed corporation or an individual licensee has not held any trust money during 2013/14, then a statutory declaration to this effect must be lodged.

This means that every licensee, both corporation and individual, must lodge either a trust account audit or a statutory declaration. Completed statutory declarations must be returned within 3 months after the end of the audit period, ie by 30 September 2014.

To prepare a statutory declaration relating to trust money not being held during the 2013/14 financial year, download the appropriate document from the following:

If a licensee does not lodge a correct statutory declaration by the due date they can be served with a fine of up to $1,100 or court action resulting in a fine up to $11,000. Licensees must complete the statutory declaration before a Justice of the Peace or a solicitor.

Go to top of page iconTop of page

Audits for other financial years 

If a licensee has an outstanding audit commitment for any of the previous financial years, the required documentation is provided below.

For the 2012/2013 financial year, download the appropriate documents below.

For the 2011/12 financial year, download the appropriate documents below.

For the 2010/2011 financial year, download the appropriate documents below.

If a licensee has an outstanding audit commitment for any other previous financial year, the required documentation can be obtained by contacting Fair Trading on 13 32 20.

Go to top of page iconTop of page

Get a free copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader so you can access PDF versions of our information.

Email link to this pagePrint this pageReduce font sizeIncrease font size
Email link to this pagePrint this pageReduce font sizeIncrease font size