Since Bankruptcy Online was launched in January, the service has made it possible for debtors to submit their bankruptcy form online to AFSA, for the first time. Since then, AFSA has listened to feedback from clients, stakeholders and consumer advocate groups and are pleased to announce some upcoming enhancements to the application process.
From 1 October, people who apply for bankruptcy will have access to the new digital bankruptcy application process, available via the Insolvency Services portal. The new process has been designed to give the applicant a more intuitive experience, with much more information to assist them as they apply for bankruptcy. The questions have not changed and the option for a Registered Trustee to submit a paper or PDF bankruptcy form to AFSA has not changed.
While AFSA is unsure of the potential impact the current COVID-19 environment will have on the number of bankruptcies, it has prioritised digitising the bankruptcy application process to help alleviate pressures of a potential surge in applications.
The improvements to the process include:
- there is assistance on how to select a Registered Trustee and obtain their consent prior to proceeding with the application
- there is now a requirement that applicants complete the ‘consequences of bankruptcy’ questionnaire prior to submitting the form
- there are linkages to the National Debt Helpline and financial counsellor services throughout
- useful information and help text has been incorporated into the form (on assets and income in particular); and
- it is now smart phone or tablet supported.
Trustees are encouraged to refer their clients to the digital application process as it includes all the necessary checks to ensure the people who apply, and meet the eligibility criteria, are supported with a streamlined service. It also removes potential operational and data-input errors, and reduces the time required to check and re-work applications. Understandably, this may not always be the most convenient or suitable option.
For more information read the digital bankruptcy application frequently asked questions for registered trustees and practitioners. For questions or comments, please contact stakeholders [at] afsa.gov.au.