Digital bankruptcy application frequently asked questions for registered trustees and practitioners

Information for registered trustees, other practitioners and financial counsellors about AFSA's new digital bankruptcy application process launching on 1 October 2020. 

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

Lodging on behalf of a client

Can a registered trustee lodge a digital bankruptcy application on behalf of their client?

The digital bankruptcy application process does not support a trustee applying on behalf of a client. However, if a trustee obtains a manually completed bankruptcy form from their client, they will still have the option to email it to registry [at] afsa.gov.au.

We encourage trustees 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 time required to check and re-work applications. However, we understand that it may not always be the most convenient or suitable option.

Future enhancements to AFSA’s online services may include provision for registered trustees to lodge a bankruptcy application digitally on behalf of their clients. AFSA will consult with registered trustees and professional bodies about this service.

Can a financial counsellor, registered trustee or other create an Insolvency Services Online account on behalf of a client, if the client has signed a Consent to Act form and provided acceptable identification?

An Insolvency Services Online account can only be created and used by the person applying for bankruptcy. They must provide details of their identification and make relevant declarations throughout the process.

An agent cannot create or operate an account on behalf of the applicant.

Consent to Act

How does a trustee sight a completed bankruptcy application before a Consent to Act is given? There are circumstances where a conflict may arise when the statement of affairs is reviewed, for example, a creditor is related to the trustee or the trustee knows a family member.

Registered trustees can still access and download the existing Bankruptcy Form (PDF) from the Practitioner Online portal. Trustees can email the blank form to their client to either complete themselves, or assist them to complete the form. The completed form can then be returned to the trustee for lodgement with AFSA, along with their Consent to Act. Trustees can email the completed Bankruptcy Form and the Consent to Act to registry [at] afsa.gov.au.

Alternately, a trustee can provide their client with a signed Consent to Act and the client can create an Insolvency Services Online account and lodge their bankruptcy application digitally, attaching the Consent to Act on submission.

Registered trustee - certificate of appointment

When a registered trustee is appointed to administer a bankruptcy, a copy of the Certificate of Appointment will be available for the trustee to download from their RT portal.

Attachments to a bankruptcy application

If the application for bankruptcy is submitted digitally, only certain attachments are required. If relevant, these are:

  • trustee Consent to Act
  • request to suppress information from National Personal Insolvency Index
  • if applying as part of a business partnership, documentary evidence such as profit and loss statements; balance sheet or taxation documents relating to the financial affairs of the partnership
  • documentary evidence that supports your Australian connection, which may include: travel itinerary showing travels to and from Australia; evidence of overseas employment; most recent Australian tax return.

The trustee will contact the client if any additional information about their circumstances is required.

Proof of identity

The client will need to complete a proof of identity check to create an Insolvency Services online account. AFSA uses the Australian Government Identity Matching Services to help verify a person’s identity. More information is available at https://beta.idmatch.gov.au/for-individuals.

If a client is unable to submit their bankruptcy application online through an Insolvency Services Online account, they will need to have their forms of identification verified by an approved witness. This could be a justice of the peace, an accountant, police officer or pharmacist, a financial counsellor or a registered trustee.

Proof of identity documents are not required to be provided with the form. For more information see Submitting the bankruptcy form offline.

How do people apply for bankruptcy if they don’t have access to 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). Email the completed form to registry [at] afsa.gov.au or post it to GPO Box 1550, Adelaide SA 5000.

What about clients who want to make a joint bankruptcy application?

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

If all joint parties do not submit on the same day, your application may be returned as we will be unable to process it as a joint bankruptcy until we have received all related forms.

How does a financial counsellor / lawyer / accountant assist their client with completing forms? There are a number of advisors that have clients in different states/territories, or reside in rural areas.

People with no online access can call AFSA on 1300 364 785 and request a paper Bankruptcy Form be mailed to them. Once received, they can receive assistance to complete the form from a financial counsellor, lawyer, accountant or other person. emailed to registry [at] afsa.gov.au or posted to GPO Box 1550, Adelaide SA 5000.

Part X personal insolvency agreements and Part XI deceased estates 

Should the digital bankruptcy application be used by someone who wants to enter into a personal insolvency agreement, or for administration of the estate of a deceased person?

No. If someone wants to enter into a personal insolvency agreement, they should complete Form 3 (Statement of Affairs). For administration of the estate of a deceased person, Form 4 (Statement of Affairs) should be used. The relevant forms are available online at AFSA forms.