Stat boards' unclaimed monies total $50m

The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) leads the pack with $36 million of unclaimed monies, mostly tax refunds from amended assessments of foreign taxpayers who have already left Singapore and defunct companies, said Iras. -- ST FILE PHOTO:
The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) leads the pack with $36 million of unclaimed monies, mostly tax refunds from amended assessments of foreign taxpayers who have already left Singapore and defunct companies, said Iras. -- ST FILE PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Rightful owners yet to recover owed sums despite multiple efforts to contact them

More than $50 million lies in the coffers of statutory boards here, waiting for its rightful owners to claim it.

The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) leads the pack with $36 million.

These are mostly tax refunds from amended assessments of foreign taxpayers who have already left Singapore and defunct companies, said Iras.

Other statutory boards with unclaimed monies upwards of $1 million are the Central Provident Fund Board with $7 million, the Media Development Authority which is holding $4.2 million, and PUB with $1 million. These are mainly from balances in CPF accounts, media licences, and customer deposits for water supplies and services.

The single, biggest-known amount owed to an individual is $35,000 in bonus and insurance owed to a dead employee of the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore.

Unless these sums are claimed within six years, they will mostly be rolled into general government funds.

The monies held by statutory boards are on top of the $118.5 million which The Straits Times reported last month was being kept with ministries and courts.

While the Ministry of Finance oversees the sums under the various ministries and courts, statutory boards do not have to report their unclaimed money totals.

The Sunday Times had to find out the amounts from each of the 34 statutory boards listed as having such funds on the government online register - www.unclaimedmonies.gov.sg

Out of the 34, only Ngee Ann Polytechnic did not say how much it held, although the register states it had only one claimant.

The new figures bring the total unclaimed monies held by the Government to about $168.5 million.

According to the 33 boards and nine ministries that responded, multiple attempts had been made to contact the owners of the monies through snail mail, e-mail and phone calls.

The registry also publishes the names and partial addresses of most of the rightful owners, but the individual amounts owed - which can be as little as $30 - are not made public.

Some of the rightful owners may have switched addresses or left the country altogether, and yet others may have simply forgotten deposits and other refundable fees paid years before.

Sales executive Neo Chern Hui, who is owed an undisclosed amount by the Casino Regulatory Authority dating back to 2011, said he thinks his change of address made it hard for the statutory board to contact him.

But the 38-year-old also feels that the agencies could do more to publicise the amounts being held, which might persuade claimants to step forward. "They should publish the totals they hold quarterly."

All the agencies which responded urged the public to check the register and come forward to claim any money due to them.

hpeishan@sph.com.sg