Digital bankruptcy application frequently asked questions

Key information about AFSA's new digital bankruptcy application process, which launched on 1 October 2020. 

If you're a registered trustee, financial counsellor or other practitioner please see Digital bankruptcy application frequently asked questions for registered trustees and practitioners.

Do you have a question? If your question isn't covered here, write to stakeholders [at] afsa.gov.au.

I’ve started to fill out my Bankruptcy Form downloaded from my Insolvency Online account. Can I still use this form?

If you downloaded the PDF version of the Bankruptcy Form from your Insolvency Services online account before 1 October 2020 you will need to submit it by 15 October via email to registry [at] afsa.gov.au or by post to:

Australian Financial Security Authority
GPO Box 1550
ADELAIDE SA 5001

After 1 October you will not be able to upload your PDF to your Insolvency Services online account. You will be directed, via the portal, to use the new digital application process to apply for bankruptcy.

How to use the digital bankruptcy application process

Do I have to use a computer?

The new digital bankruptcy application process is smart phone and tablet friendly so computer access is not essential.

For people without online access, the existing Bankruptcy Form (PDF) will be available. For a copy, call us on 1300 364 785 Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 8:00 pm (AEST and AEDT).

What do I need to open an Insolvency Services Online account?

You will need to provide the details of two forms of identification, such as a driver licence, birth certificate or Medicare card.

You must be 16 or over to apply for bankruptcy.

Is there a fee to apply for bankruptcy?

No, there is no cost to apply for bankruptcy with AFSA.

If you need help when considering bankruptcy, financial counsellors are available nation-wide and provide an independent, free and confidential service. See where to find help for more information on support services.

Some services will charge a fee to help you apply for bankruptcy. You should ask about any costs before you agree to accept help.

You can also contact us on 1300 364 785 if you have any questions or issues about your digital bankruptcy application.

Can I save my digital bankruptcy application and complete and submit it at a later time?

Yes. Once you have created an online account and started your application, you can save your answers and resume the process later. This allows time for you to consider whether bankruptcy is the right decision, confirm or verify the information you’ll need to finish your application or to seek additional guidance from a financial counsellor if necessary.

If your application remains pending, an alert will be displayed on your dashboard after 30 and 60 days. This is to ensure that the information you have entered is still current. Once submitted and accepted, the application cannot be withdrawn if you change your mind about applying for bankruptcy.

Do I need to sign the digital bankruptcy application?

No. If you are applying for bankruptcy using the new digital application process, you will be required to prove your identity but do not need to sign the application.

If you do not have online access you will need to complete and sign the paper-based Bankruptcy Form. To request a copy, call us on 1300 364 785 Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 8:00 pm (AEST and AEDT).

Getting help with the digital bankruptcy application

Can I get help to complete the digital bankruptcy application?

At the start of your application process you will be asked a series of questions and provided information about the consequences of bankruptcy after each answer. This will help you understand how bankruptcy may impact you.

Throughout the digital bankruptcy application process you will be provided with additional guidance to ensure you understand the information required for each field. You may receive prompts or you might be asked to seek help if the information you provide is unusual or requires validation. The information provided is checked against eligibility criteria before it is processed.

If you have any questions or issues completing the digital bankruptcy application you can contact us.

You can seek help with your bankruptcy from financial counsellors, registered trustees or other service providers. We ask that you tell us the name of the person and organisation that provided you with assistance, and any fee paid for that assistance, in question 17 of your application.

Financial counsellors are available nation-wide and provide an independent, free and confidential service. For more information on where to find help see: Where to find help

Can I have someone else complete the digital bankruptcy application for me?

No, an Insolvency Services Online account can only be created and used by the person applying for bankruptcy. You must provide identification details and make declarations throughout the process. Another person cannot create or operate an account on your behalf.

However, someone can complete the Bankruptcy Form (PDF) on your behalf if you are:

  • visually impaired
  • Illiterate
  • unfamiliar with the English language
  • have a physical disability.

The person completing the form on your behalf will have to sign a declaration noting which of the circumstances apply and that:

  • they have read the prescribed information to you, or
  • they have interpreted the prescribed information to you in a language that you are familiar with, or
  • they believe that you have read and understood the prescribed information

The information that comes with the form contains essential information about the consequences of bankruptcy and alternatives to bankruptcy.

For a copy of the Bankruptcy Form, call us on 1300 364 785 Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 8:00 pm (AEST and AEDT).

Making a joint bankruptcy application 

If you are applying for bankruptcy jointly with someone else, or with a partner of a business, you can use the digital process to submit your bankruptcy application. You will need to state that you are applying jointly with someone else or as part of a partnership and provide their name. You will each need to complete separate applications and submit them on the same day.

Can I ask a registered trustee to manage my bankruptcy?

Yes, you can ask a registered trustee to administer your bankruptcy. Before applying, you will need to get a signed ‘consent to act form’ from the trustee and will need to submit this when you complete the digital bankruptcy application process.

AFSA will let you and your trustee know the outcome of your application.

Can anyone else besides me or a Registered Trustee lodge the application on my behalf?

No. Only you or your Registered Trustee can lodge your application with AFSA. Registered trustees are registered with and regulated by AFSA.