Early Christmas present?: How to find out if you have unclaimed money from Inland Revenue

Millions of dollars are waiting for their owners to come forward.
Millions of dollars are waiting for their owners to come forward. Photo credit: Getty Images

Christmas is right around the corner and what comes with the joyous holiday tends to be a lot of expenses. This festive season - or any season - I'm sure people's bank accounts would happily welcome a bit of a boost.

Well, you could be in luck, as millions of dollars are waiting for their owners to come forward, but the kicker is not many people know about it.

Unclaimed money is money that is held by a person or organisation because the owner cannot be located. The length of time that passes before it becomes unclaimed money is generally five years.

It commonly includes deposits in banks and financial institutions, money in trusts, unpaid wages and employee benefits and proceeds of life insurance policies.

Amounts of more than $100 get passed on to the Inland Revenue Department (IRD), while for amounts less than $100 the organisation can choose what to do with it.

In September, it was revealed that there was $398 million of unclaimed money held by IRD - meaning you could be in luck for an early Christmas present this year.

How to check if you are owed any money?

You can search your name, someone else's, a trust or an estate in the IRD unclaimed money database which will show if there is any money owed under that name and how much. You can then fill in your details to apply for the total to be sent to your bank account.

Alternatively, you can search yourself using the name shown in myIR and associated with your IRD number. This is not available for organisations, trusts or estates.

This way you do not have to supply identification details, instead you will need to give additional information about the connection you have with the money.

How to:

  • After you log in to myIR, go to 'I want to...'
  • Go to 'Registration, application and enrolment'.
  • Select 'Apply for unclaimed money'. The form allows you to search for unclaimed money and apply if any matches your details.

To make a claim you will need to provide as much evidence as possible to show that you are entitled to the money, including proof of your identity.

If your claim is successful, the money will be paid into your bank account, you're welcome.