The Bankruptcy Act 1966 gives the Official Receiver particular powers in certain situations to help trustees administer bankrupt estates. These powers include the ability for the Official Receiver to issue notices to direct the production of books or information, access to premises and to recovery property and contribution liabilities. Recently, trustees are seeing the benefit and value of the Official Receiver’s powers in assisting with their duties under the Act and the benefits those powers bring to the insolvency system.
The issuing of these notices brings significant value to both the insolvency system and the broader economy. In 2019-20, the Official Receiver Notices Team issued and served notices with a compliance value of over $51 million. These notices mainly consisted of s139ZL notices (recovery of unpaid contribution liabilities) and s139ZQ notices (recovery of antecedent transactions). The value of these notices does not account for further recoveries available to the trustee through the Official Receiver’s information gathering powers (in particular s77C) which have been particularly useful for trustees in their administration of bankrupt estates.
Trustees can apply for Official Receiver Notices via AFSA Online Services. Further information about the Official Receiver’s powers can be found in the Official Receiver Practice Statement 7.