Trust accounts and audit requirements

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 NSW 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) (PDF, 64.33 KB).

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 institution).

This form can list up to three trust accounts.

View or download the trust account(s) exemption notice (pink form) (PDF, 61.55 KB).

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 by email to: audits@finance.nsw.gov.au

Trust account audit requirements

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

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 of each year:

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

When must the audit be lodged?

The audit must be lodged within three months after the end of the audit period. For audit period ending 30 June, audit must be lodged with Fair Trading no later than 30 September of that year. 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.

Who can conduct the audit?

Auditors must be registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) or be qualified under section 79 of the Conveyancers Licensing Act 2003. Registered audit companies, authorised company auditors and members of a Professional Accounting Body holding a Public Practising Certificate with one or more of those bodies can conduct the audit. A Professional Accounting Body is defined under the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Regulations 2001 of the Commonwealth and includes CPA Australia, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia and the National Institute of Accountants.

An auditor cannot:

  • be employed by, nor a partner of, the person whose records or documents are to be audited within the last two years of the audit period,
  • be a licensee, or a shareholder in a corporation that is a licensee with less than 20 shareholders.

An auditor can be a person who has been nominated by the person whose records and documents are to be audited. To perform the audit, they must also have been approved by the Commissioner for NSW Fair Trading by order in writing. Go to the ASIC website to check that an auditor is registered.

Audit for 2017/18 financial year

To prepare an audit report for trust money held during the 2017/18 financial year, download the following two documents:

Audits must be submitted by email to audits@finance.nsw.gov.au

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

If no trust money held in 2017/18

If a licensed corporation or an individual licensee has not held any trust money during 2017/18, then a statutory declaration 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 three months after the end of the audit period, i.e. by 30 September 2018.

To prepare a statutory declaration relating to trust money not being held during the 2017/18 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.

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 2016/2017 financial year, download the appropriate documents below.

For the 2015/2016 financial year, download the appropriate documents below.

For the 2014/2015 financial year, download the appropriate documents below.

For the 2013/2014 financial year, download the appropriate documents below.

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