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Trust account audits for agents in the property, motor, auction and debt collector industries

If you receive trust money, you must operate a trust account. Each trust account must be audited each year by a qualified auditor. You are responsible for arranging lodgement of this audit report with us each year.

Trust account auditors

Appointing an auditor

You must appoint an auditor when you open a trust account. An auditor is a registered auditor or a member of a prescribed entity.

A registered auditor is a person who:

  • holds a valid registration under the Corporations Act 2001
  • works for a registered auditing company.

A member of a prescribed entity is a person who is a member of:

  • CPA Australia (using the letters CPA or FCPA)
  • the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia (using the letters CA or FCA)
  • the Institute of Public Accountants (using the letters MIPA or FIPA).

When appointing an auditor, you need to:

  • make the appointment within a month of opening your trust account
  • notify us within a month of making the appointment
  • include evidence in the notification to us that the auditor has accepted the appointment.

Changing your auditor

If you change your auditor, you and your auditor must each tell us:

  • within 1 month
  • the reason/s for the change.

Audit period and due dates

The audit report covers a specified audit period that:

  • is for the same 12-months period each year except in your first and last years of business
  • ends on the last day of the month.

Your audit report must be lodge within 4 months after the end of your audit period, unless it is your last year of business where it must be lodged with us within 2 months after you stop carrying on a business.

If you are a licensee, the table below sets out your audit period and when your audit report is due for lodgement.

Licence issue month Audit report due Audit period
January 31 January 1 October - 30 September
February 28/29 February 1 November - 31 October
March 31 March 1 December - 30 November
April 30 April 1 January - 31 December
May 31 May 1 February - 31 January
June 30 June 1 March - 28/29 February
July 31 July 1 April - 31 March
August 31 August 1 May - 30 April
September 30 September 1 June - 31 May
October 31 October 1 July - 30 June
November 30 November 1 August - 31 July
December 31 December 1 September - 31 August

Collection agents who do not need a licence have an audit period that runs from 1 July to 30 June the following year with their audit report due by 31 October each year.

Unused trust accounts

If you didn’t use your trust accounts throughout the entire audit period, you may lodge a statutory declaration to this effect. This is a legally binding statement that you did not:

  • operate the trust account during the audit period
  • receive any funds on behalf of another person or entity.

You won’t need to submit an audit report if you lodge a statutory declaration.

Penalties

If you do not lodge your audit report or statutory declaration on time:

  • you can be fined
  • you can be convicted of an offence
  • we can cancel or suspend your licence.

Lodge your audit report

Your audit report must be:

  • an original copy of the document
  • signed by the auditor.

If you are also renewing your licence, you must attach a copy of the signed audit report to your renewal application.

Although the auditor may lodge the audit report on your behalf, you always remain responsible for lodging the audit report, not the auditor.

If you did not operate any trust accounts during the last audit period, you must provide a statutory declaration stating that “I did not operate a trust account or receive any funds on behalf of another person in a transaction”. Please ensure that you have a copy that is certified by a Justice of the Peace, Commissioner for Declarations or a lawyer, and scanned into a .pdf format.

You are ultimately responsible for lodging your audit report, however, your auditor can lodge it on your behalf.

Apply for an extension

You can apply for an extension for lodging your audit report. You must:

  • notify in writing before the audit period report is due to be lodged
  • state the reason/s for the extension
  • tell us the extra time you need.

Lodge your final audit

If you stop trading, you must lodge your final audit. You will have 2 months from the day you stop trading to lodge the final audit report.

You can lodge your final audit report online.

Do it online

Some Fair Trading services are now online.

Licensees and auditors can:

Last updated
30 June 2017
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