• 03 Mar 2020
  • 3 min read
  • By Brian Bauer, Executive Director, Office of Fair Trading

Save time, lodge online

OFT, Online Lodgement

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is increasing and enhancing its online services to the real estate industry as part of the Queensland Government's commitment to reducing red tape and providing simpler, faster processes for the lodgement of documents.

A number of online services are already available to the property industry, and we're pleased to now offer online lodgement for audit reports.

As you'll be aware, your audit report must be lodged with the OFT no later than four months after your audit period ends.

The take-up rate for online lodgement has been fantastic, and the OFT expects as word gets out about how simple the process is, almost all audit reports will be lodged online.

Online lodgement means the OFT is able to provide a better service to the industry through quicker assessments and as a result, faster processing time for licence renewals.

Having your auditor lodge your audit on your behalf will further increase the efficiency of the process.

All online lodgements receive an automatic receipt and the lodger will be sent a copy of the submission.

Auditors lodging on behalf of clients can also have a copy sent to the agent.

Agents are also reminded to keep full and accurate accounting records that show the true position of all trust money received to enable their trust accounts to be audited more quickly.

Many auditors submit the final audit report to the OFT on your behalf as part of their service.

However, it's important to remember that legally it remains the agent's responsibility to ensure the report is submitted on time.

Check with your auditor who will submit the report. If a trust account audit report isn't lodged on time, licensees can be fined or worse, suspended or disqualified from holding a licence.

It can also delay the renewing of your licence.

If you think you may have trouble meeting your audit deadline, you can ask the OFT for an extension.

Applications for extensions must be made in writing and should set out the reason the extension is being sought.

Please be aware that extension requests submitted after your deadline will generally not be considered.

Finally, if you haven't used your trust account during the trust account period, you must submit a statutory declaration to that effect in lieu of an audit report.

For more information on audit requirements, to access OFT forms, or to download our trust account guide for property agents and their auditors, visit www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading or call 13 QGOV (13 74 68).

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