AAR Online frequently asked questions

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Submitting your AAR

Do I need to lodge an AAR for administrations where there have been no transactions during the year?

Yes – you are required to lodge AAR for all administrations which were active during the financial year. You will still be required to enter $0.00 in cells where there have been no transactions otherwise an error will be recorded if you leave cells blank and the lodgment will not be accepted.

Who is responsible to lodge an AAR in the case of joint appointment or transfer of administration between practitioners?

Where there are joint trustees in administration, the administration will only appear in the AAR of the primary trustee. The other trustee (the secondary trustee) will not see the administration and should not request it from AFSA.

In the case of transfer of administration between practitioners during the year, each practitioner is responsible to lodge an AAR to reflect receipt and payment in the administration for the relevant period the administration was under their control.

The first or outgoing trustee must:

  • not record a finalisation date
  • record any funds transferred to the second or incoming trustee at column 31 ‘Funds transferred to another practitioner’
  • ensure the closing balance is nil.

The second or incoming trustee must:

  • record any receipts from the first or outgoing trustee at column 9 ‘Funds transferred from another practitioner’
  • ensure the opening balance is nil.

How should I report funds transferred from another practitioner in my AAR?

If the realisations charge (RC) has been paid by the former practitioner, the amount can be reported as ‘funds transferred from another practitioner’. This will ensure that the funds will not be included in the calculation of total receipts subject to RC.

If the RC is still outstanding on the funds (for example, the former practitioner has not paid), then the practitioner should retain sufficient funds and pay these funds before the transfer.

What should I do if an administration transferred from another practitioner is not showing in my list of matters requiring lodgement of an AAR?

For change of practitioner contact details, missing or incorrect administrations listed as requiring an AAR, overpayment/refund requests, joint trustee payments, amendments to previous year returns, late lodgement, extensions, compliance, and calculations please complete the AAR support form.

How do I amend AAR lodged in prior period and make a payment?

The AAR online facility was introduced for the 2014-15 charge period. For amendments to charge periods from then onwards, practitioners can amend their AAR by uploading a new spreadsheet with the relevant amendments.

For amendments to charge periods prior to 2014-15, practitioners may need to amend the opening balance of the AAR for the 2014-15 charge period, closing balance for the 2014-15 charge period and so on. It is also recommended that this be noted in the comments cell to make it easier for AFSA to clarify and reconcile.

Once this is completed, the details of the amendments should be sent via the AAR Online support form and an invoice for any unpaid realisation and interest charges, together with any penalty will be sent to you.

How do I make payment of a realisations charge liability arising from the amendment of AAR lodged in a prior period?

When an amendment to AAR lodged in a prior period gives rise to a realisations charge liability, the practitioner should make the payment as per the normal process, by generating the ‘Payment Advice’ from AAR Online (further information on how to generate payment advice can be located in the Online Services Guide). To ensure that the payment is recorded against the correct financial year, and any relevant penalty is applied, the practitioner also needs to advise AFSA using the AAR support form.

How do I resolve error message ‘Administration type column missing’?

See the common abbreviation used in other matters (for example, SEQ, DP, S188, PIA, or XI) and complete the cells manually as required

How do I resolve the error message ‘finalisation date must be within the AAR period’?

This error message appears when practitioners enter a date outside the current AAR period, in the finalisation date column in the spreadsheet. If the administration is not active, and was finalised in a prior AAR period, the practitioner can finalise the administration on AAR Online, through the 'Forms > Request finalisation' menu.  The administration will then be removed from the list of administrations requiring lodgement. 

Can I enter the date of final payment made by a debtor in a debt agreement as the date of finalisation in AAR Online?

AAR Online does not allow finalisation of an administration with a closing balance. Unless all funds held in the administration have been disbursed, AAR online will not allow the administration to be finalised.

A practitioner will only be able to finalise an administration when the closing balance is nil. A positive or negative closing balance is not accepted.

To assist practitioners, the new concept of a warning message has been released into AAR. If a negative closing balance occurs when completing a lodgement for an administration, a warning message will appear. This gives the practitioner an opportunity to check their lodgement details. The lodgement will still be allowed to proceed with a negative closing balance, but this will need to be actioned by the practitioner, in the current year's lodgement or in a future year's lodgement.

Practitioners are expected to adhere to basic trust accounting principles, which means that a cashbook should not go into negative. AAR lodgements should be based on a practitioner's administration cashbook. If the cashbook balance does go into negative, the practitioner will need to action this. 

How do I complete the AAR for an administration involving s153A annulment and refund of surplus funds to the debtor?

To complete the AAR online in the case of an annulment by payment in full, the trustee should carry out the following steps to ensure that the correct realisations charge (RC) is being paid:

  1. Calculate the RC payable in the administration based on the amount of debts and costs for annulment, using the grossing up formula of:
    (Total debts + costs) X RC rate / (100 – RC rate)
    This formula will ensure that the correct RC is also calculated on the gross realisation charge.
  2. Calculate the surplus to be refunded to the bankrupt, and record this in column 29 (refund) AND 18 (receipts not subject to RC). 
  3. Deduct the refund amount from receipt in the administration (i.e. the refunded amount should not be recorded as a receipt)


A Trustee sold a property for $450,000, and paid the secured creditor $350,000.

The Cost of the administration was $10,000, remuneration $20,000, and dividend paid $50,000.

  1. In this administration, the RC payable is calculated to be $6,021, based on the following figures:
    Cost of administration  $10,000
    Trustee’s remuneration  $20,000
    Dividend  $50,000
    TOTAL debts & costs  $80,000
    RC payable = 80,000 X 7/(100-7) =  6,021
  2. The surplus due to the bankrupt in this case is $13,979, which is calculated as follows:
    Net receipt (after payment of secured creditor)  $100,000
    Less debts & costs  $80,000
    Less RC payable  $6,021
    Surplus to be refunded to the debtor  $13,979
    Record the surplus amount in column 29 AND 18
  3. Deduct the refund amount from gross proceeds, and record this in column 10. 
    In this example $436,021 should be recorded in column 10, which is calculated as follows)
    Gross sale proceeds $450,000
    Refund  $ 13,979
    Gross sale proceeds  $436,021

As a summary, the AAR spreadsheet should show the following:

Gross sale price of assets 436,021 (sale proceeds of 450,000 minus refund of 13,979)
Recoveries from antecedent transactions  0.00
Contributions collected     0.00
Sec 73 Composition receipts    0.00
Trading receipts      0.00
Other Receipts      0.00
Total receipts subject to the realisations charge (RC)  436,021
Interest earned on estate funds    0.00
Other receipts not subject to RC  13,979
Total receipts      450,000

Amount paid to secured creditors   350,000
Trading payments     0.00
Costs of administering the estate   10,000
Trustee's remuneration     20,000
Dividends paid to creditors    50,000
Bank fees and charges     0.00
Other payments      0.00
RC payments 6,021 (if already paid in full, and reported in column 27)
Interest Charge payments    0.00
Refund of surplus to debtor    13,979
Total payments      450,000

This method is acceptable to ensure the correct realisations charge is paid for annulment under section 153A.

How is the list of my administrations requiring AAR lodgement determined?

An administration is shown as requiring an AAR submission by the practitioner if:

  • it started before or during the AAR charge period (the financial year), and the administration is now finalised or it has lapsed during or after the AAR charge period
  • the practitioner was the primary practitioner for at least one day during the period.

I have accessed the list of my administrations requiring AAR lodgement and noticed there are some missing or additional administrations listed. How do I remedy this?

Practitioners can add additional administrations to the AAR spreadsheet when it has been finalised in a previous charge period and reactivated in the new charge period. Similarly, if there are additional estates or estates that may not belong to you, or you are unsure why an administration is/is not listed, contact us via the AAR support form.

How is the AAR spreadsheet reconciled?

AAR Online tallies the realisations and interest charge payments reported for a practitioner’s administrations from the AAR submissions, against the total amount received by AFSA. If, after the due date, an underpayment is identified, AFSA will contact the practitioner to advise payment is required based on the information provided.

Overpayments will be reflected in the practitioner's AAR online account and steps should be taken by the practitioner to identify the cause of the overpayment and remedy it. A practitioner can request a refund, see the AAR support form for details, or amend the AAR lodgement, as required.

Is there a history of who has submitted a spreadsheet on a practitioner’s behalf?

Yes, navigate to 'View History' in AAR online for the practitioner required, to view past AAR submissions by other users authorised to lodge AARs on behalf of the practitioner. The AAR submission history can be searched and filtered by AAR period, status or submission date.

In the past, there have been rounding issues in the spreadsheets. Will this still occur?

AAR Online will accept a reported value of a realisation and interest charge for an administration within 10 cents of AFSA’s calculated amount of realisation and interest charge payable. Please submit an AAR support form for any rounding or calculation issues.

What data and submission date is recorded if there are multiple AAR submissions for an administration during the same AAR charge period?

The AAR data and submission date for an administration is the most recent date-  if the submission is valid. The latest AAR submission for the administration will overwrite all previous submissions in the same AAR charge period. For example, if a recent lodgement has errors, the most recent previous submission without errors, if any, will be recorded.

Can the AAR spreadsheet be customised?

The downloadable AAR spreadsheet contains the acceptable column layout. AAR Online will accept files (.xls, .xlsx) matching the column and heading layout of the downloadable spreadsheet. This means that practitioners may upload their own spreadsheets or use the downloaded spreadsheet. The downloadable spreadsheet will pre-populate opening and closing balances and any previously deferred realisations and interest charges. A spreadsheet can be uploaded with one row (i.e. one administration) or thousands of rows. Additional columns can be added but they will be ignored when uploaded. Cells should not be merged as the contents may not be read correctly.

Can the spreadsheet that is currently on the AFSA website be used?

Yes, the AAR spreadsheets are available from the AFSA website. Practitioners can commence entering the AAR data for all of their administrations prior to the release of AAR Online.

If there is a joint trusteeship, does AAR online list the secondary trustee?

An administration is shown as requiring AAR submission by the practitioner if:

  • it started before or during the current AAR charge period, and has now finalised or lapsed during or after the AAR charge period.
  • the practitioner was the primary practitioner for at least one day during the period.

If a practitioner recorded as the secondary trustee for an administration attempts an AAR submission, an error message will appear, detailing the name of the practitioner recorded primary practitioner.

For further queries about joint trustees making payments please submit an AAR support form.

Is there a provision for the AAR summary of administrations to be viewed at the practitioner firm level?

No, administrations are only available to be viewed by the primary individual trustee or debt agreement administrator.

I want to view all my administrations in alphabetical order. Can this be done?

The ‘Administrations’ list displayed within AAR Online does not have a sorting function. Practitioners can download the list of administrations to an AAR spreadsheet to use Excel sorting capabilities. Administrations can be removed or filtered within the spreadsheet to assist with AAR lodgement.

Do practitioners have access to other practitioner’s AAR information?

No, administrations are only available to be viewed by the primary individual trustee or debt agreement administrator and staff that they delegate access to.

Can I print a summary of all my administrations?

The ‘Administrations’ list or Individual administrations displayed within AAR Online can be printed from the user’s browser.

Registered trustees can search AAR Online for the administrations where they are recorded as the current primary or current secondary practitioner. To do this, set 'current primary practitioner' or 'current secondary practitioner' as the filter in the 'relationship' field and change 'status' to active or finalised. See the illustration below.

Example image how to print summary of administrations

Example image AAR how to select Current primary practitionerExample image AAR how to select Current practitioner (Primary or Secondary)

Debt agreement administrators can also search for those administrations where they are recorded as the current primary practitioner, (except matters that are currently in voting). To search these, in the search administrations field, select 'proposed debt agreements' in the 'status' field. Check that all other fields show the required filter details. 

This search is limited to a download limit of 10,000 administrations. Practitioners who require a search that is more than 10,000 should filter using the status date into multiple searches, or contact PractitionerSurveillance@afsa.gov.au.

If I submit an AAR for an administration in November, do I have to submit the AAR again in the following year before the due date (lodgements are due 25 business days after the end of financial year)?

No, you will not have to resubmit it, as long as the AAR data (for example opening, closing balance, receipts and payments) has not changed since you lodged it.The AAR data for the administration can be viewed and checked by selecting the filter ‘Lodgements to date’ from the AAR summary screen.

Making realisations and interest charge payments

Do I need to make a realisations and / or interest charge payment for an amount less than $10 per administration?

Where realisations and / or interest charge liability amounts for an administration are less than $10 for a charge period, practitioners can choose to remit the payment.

The AAR spreadsheet contains formulas to calculate the amount of realisations and interest charges due. When the calculated amount is less than $10, you can override the spreadsheet formula to read $0.

If you elect to make the payment of less than $10 for an administration, you do not need to do anything differently, simply lodge the AAR return and pay the calculated amount by the usual methods.

If you elect not to make the payment of less than $10, follow the steps outlined on page 36 of the AFSA Online Services Guide.

Please note if you elect not to pay realisations or interest charges less than $10, but do not override the calculated formula amounts to $0 (outlined on page 36 of the services guide), AAR Online will record the realisations and interest amounts as still payable and you will be liable for those amounts.

Any Interest Charge liability amounts that are less than $50 can be deferred to the next AAR charge period, unless the administration is finalised pursuant to section 280 of the Act. 

Will all the payments I have made during the current charge period appear in my AAR online account?

Yes, all interest and realisations charge payments made by practitioners since 01 July 2014, can be viewed in AAR Online. This allows practitioners to confirm their records against AFSA’s.

Column 27 ‘Realisations charge payments’ and column 28 ‘Interest charge payments’ should only record realisations and interest charge payments made during the current charge period (up to 30 June). Realisations and interest charge payments due for the current charge period should be recorded at column 34 ‘Realisations charge due for current period’ and column 38 ‘Interest charge due for current period’.

If you have queries about the accuracy of transactions, please submit an AAR support form.

When paying a realisations or interest charge by EFT, must I identify the administration to which the payment relates?

No, all that is required is to EFT the funds to the BSB and account number as detailed on your practitioner Payment Advice; available to download from AAR Online. The account number is unique to each practitioner.

Practitioners have the option of supplying the administration number in the reference field when making an EFT payment. The reference will be visible against the EFT transaction in AAR Online.

What happens if I don't use the correct payment advice?

Practitioners should make payments using the payment advice unique to them in their portal. If payments are made using another practitioner's payment details this will mean that the payments will go to the incorrect account and the account will not reconcile, as the payment will not match the lodgement. If this occurs practitioners should advise AFSA by completing an AAR support form, and provide the relevant details. 

When paying a realisations or interest charge by cheque, do I use one Payment Advice per cheque or can I attach multiple cheques to the one Advice?

Only one Payment Advice is required to accompany mailed cheques. The Payment Advice allows the practitioner to indicate how many cheques are being lodged and the total amount being paid.

What happens if I pay the realisations or interest charge on the due date (35 days after the end of the financial year)?

Practitioners should allow sufficient time to ensure AFSA receives payment of realisations and interest charges before the due date. There may be instances where practitioners are contacted about underpayments of realisations or interest charges because cheques were not received and processed by the due date. AFSA will consider each instance on a case-by-case basis when determining whether a practitioner has complied with the Act.

For queries about late lodgements and extensions please complete an AAR support form.

When paying an interest charge, can I report and pay at the aggregate level instead of per administration?

Yes, AAR Online allows you to report an aggregate interest charge amount. Payments for the interest charge can be remitted in the same way as payments for the realisations charge; using Dashboard >>> AAR >>> AAR FY 16/17 Summary >>> Single Interest Charge >>> Report Single Interest Charge.

Can I continue to pay realisations and interest charge payments from my individual estate trust accounts?

Yes, payments can still be made from individual estate trust accounts.

When payment of a realisations and interest charge is made, when will the transaction be visible in my AAR Online?

It depends on the method of payment; however transactions will generally be visible in AAR Online within one to two business days of the payment being made.

How are refunds of realisations charge accounted for in the AAR?

Requests for refund of overpayment of realisations charge (RC) occur when an administration is annulled resulting in a refund of surplus to be paid to the debtor in a later period to the period in which an asset was realised.   It also occurs when there is a dispute about the entitlement of an estate to an asset that has been recovered by the trustee.

A refund payment can only be made if the practitioner’s cumulative account is in credit.  To request a refund,  practitioners are required to complete and submit a Form 23 Request for Refund.  Applications should include, a Form 2 or list of receipts and payments and a copy of the trustee’s calculations demonstrating overpayment of realisations charge.

In addition to completing Form 23, an amended return for the period for which the refund is sought must be uploaded.  The amended return must reflect the correct amount in the column “Total receipts subject to the Realisations Charge”.  Failure to amend the return results in the charge due for the period remaining as originally submitted.   That original charge also feeds into the practitioner’s cumulative total and may indicate there is no RC credit in the practitioner’s account from which the refund can be paid. 

If the practitioner has paid the RC and the uploaded return includes the amount initially paid in the column “Realisation Charge payments” the amendment will result in an overpayment being reflected in the RC liability column in the filing history for that administration.   That can be amended once the refund is paid to the trustee. 

Practitioners can review their outstanding returns and returns with errors or discrepancies through the AAR portal.  To do that practitioners must select “All” for the period and “Lodgements outstanding” for the search type.  Then press search.   Refer to the snip below.

Practitioners can search for lodgements with unresolved errors and lodgements with unresolved discrepancies in the portal.  Unresolved errors and discrepancies should be corrected to ensure returns accurately demonstrate what has occurred in an administration.

The transfer of an administration from one trustee to another, or a change in the structure of trusteeship during a return period may result in an obligation for two trustees to file a return.  Each trustee must file a return for the period for which he or she was the primary trustee.  When this occurs trustees must ensure opening and closing balances and transfers of funds between trustees are correctly reflected in the returns.

Practitioners are encouraged to consult the AAR Online Guide before contacting AFSA for assistance and are encouraged to review administrations in the portal to check for unresolved errors and discrepancies to ensure their filing obligations are completed for all administrations.


Example image how to see outstanding lodgements in AAR online

AAR Accounts

Do I owe AFSA any money?

To check if you owe money:

  1. Log in to AAR Online and select 'View payment history' from the AAR menu item. The 'Posting Search' screen will display.
  2. Click the 'Accounts' link to navigate to the Accounts page displaying the four account types.
  3. View your 'Due account balance' to determine if required payments are up to date. If the Due account balance is negative then AFSA is owed money.

    Note: The 'Current Period' liability will be rolled into the 'Due' account on the due date. In the lead up to the due date, it is recommended that you check that there is sufficient funds to pay the upcoming AAR liability. This can be done by adding the balances of the 'Due' account and 'Current Period' account together. If the result is negative, there is insufficient funds and AFSA requires additional payment by the due date.

What are the four accounts in AAR?

There are 4 accounts to track your AAR liabilities and payments.

A simple way to understand these accounts is: Due + Current Period + Next Period = To Date Balance

  • Due

    The amount of funds available to pay the 'Current Period' liability. This includes all due realisation and interest charge liabilities, and all payments as they occur.
  • Current Period

    All realisation and interest charge liabilities for the current period, based on AAR lodgements. The current period is from 1 July to 30 June the following year. This excludes payments.
  • Next Period

    All realisation and interest charge liabilities for the next period, based on AAR lodgements. Liabilities will only appear in this account during the reconciliation period 1 July to the due date upon submission of AARs for the new charge period. This excludes payments.
  • To Date Balance

    A running balance of all realisation and interest charge liabilities for all periods, and all payments made, as they occur. Liabilities will only appear in this account during the reconciliation period 1 July to the due date upon submission of AARs for the new charge period. This is useful for reconciling your lodgements and payments.

Why do I have a lodgement requirement?

You will need to lodge an AAR when all of the following conditions apply:

Standard lodgement

  1. The AAR period is open for lodgements
    • The start date of the period has passed (1-Jul), and
    • the period is FY 14/15 or after.
  2. The administration was active during the period.
    • The start date was in or before the period, and
    • there is no end date or the end date was in or after the period.
  3. You were the primary practitioner during the period
    • You must have been recorded as the primary practitioner.
    • Your appointed start date must be within or before the period, and
    • you have no appointment end date, or the end date is in or after the period.

Non-zero closing balance

  • If all the conditions outlined above are met and you have lodged an AAR in the previous period where the closing balance was not $0.00, a lodgement is required.