If you fall behind on a loan, credit card or bill, a debt collector might contact you.
A debt collector is a person who collects overdue debts. This could be for themselves, or for a lender (such as a bank), service provider or debt collection agency.
Debt collection is legal. The people you owe money to (your creditors) have a right to get it back. But it's not okay to harass or bully you.
If you receive a notice about being taken to court, get free legal advice straight away. If you ignore it, you risk your goods being repossessed and sold.
Go to Moneysmart's [website](https://moneysmart.gov.au/managing-debt/dealing-with-debt-collectors) to find out about your rights, what to do and how to get help.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, natural disaster or in charge of a deceased estate, you may be eligible for a free mail direction service.
How to apply:
You can apply in person at any Australia Post location. You will need to complete the application to redirect your mail, provide proof of identity and any additional requirements. Further information can be found on the Australia Post [website](https://auspost.com.au/receiving/manage-your-mail/redirect-hold-mail/redirect-mail/free-mail-redirection-and-po-boxes).
If you need help lodging your tax return, you may be eligible for the [Tax Help](https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Lodging-your-tax-return/Tax-Help-program/) program. Tax Help is a network of ATO-trained and accredited community volunteers who provide a free and confidential service to help people complete their tax returns online using myTax.
[Tax Help](https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Lodging-your-tax-return/Tax-Help-program/) is available from July to November 30. This year (2020) volunteers will deliver this service over the phone, online and face to face from selected Tax Help centres.
For information on eligibility, what volunteers can help you with and how to make an appointment please visit the [website](https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Lodging-your-tax-return/Tax-Help-program/).
Unclaimed money is money from lost bank accounts, shares, investments and life insurance policies. This money becomes lost when you move house and forget to update your details with a financial institution or company.
This money is available to be claimed at any time by the rightful owner and there is no time limit on claims.
- Bank accounts become unclaimed after 7 years if the account is inactive (no deposits or withdrawals).
- Life insurance policies become unclaimed 7 years after the policy matures and is not claimed.
The unclaimed money search is a simple system to use. Enter your name and see the results in a few seconds. There is no cost associated by using this government service but be aware that there are private, advertised companies who will use this free system and charge you a fee for looking on your behalf.
If you have changed jobs several times over the years you may have superannuation associated in different super funds that are considered inactive. You can identify unclaimed super by linking your myGov account to the ATO and follow the instructions. It is not as simple as searching for unclaimed money but worthwhile as these amounts may be consolidated with your current fund.
Some companies charge customers a fee each time they send out a paper bill. If you can't receive bills electronically, fee exemptions may be available if you:
- are a senior
- are registered for a concession
- receive income support
- don't have internet access
What to do
Ask each company that sends you a bill and about their exemption criteria and how to apply.
If you have checked with a provider that you are eligible for an exemption, but are having trouble getting your exemption processed, please contact the [Consumer Business Services](https://www.cbs.sa.gov.au/) on 13 18 82 from 9 am to 4.30 pm Monday to Friday.
The University of South Australia [Tax Clinic](https://www.unisa.edu.au/connect/community-clinics/tax-clinic/) provides free, confidential tax advice, representation, education and advocacy to unrepresented taxpayers and small businesses.
Under the supervision of qualified tax professionals, the UniSA [Tax Clinic](https://www.unisa.edu.au/connect/community-clinics/tax-clinic/) is staffed by students who can support unrepresented taxpayers across a range of tax matters.
If you are an individual or a small business without a tax agent, we may be able to help you.
To arrange an appointment please contact us at 8302 0100 or submit an enquiry via the [online enquiry form](https://www.unisa.edu.au/connect/community-clinics/tax-clinic/tax-clinic-form/).
Appointments are available during teaching terms August to October and March to May between 10.00am - 4.00pm Wednesday - Friday.
The USASA Financial Counsellor can help you manage your money and assist in making the pieces of the puzzle fit.
If you are dealing with financial stress related to issues such as debt, rent, utility costs and budgeting problems a USASA financial counsellor may be able to help you. A financial counsellor can help identify your options and give you the information you need to support you through managing any debt.
What can a USASA Financial Counsellor assist you with:
- Developing a budget to help manage your finances.
- Dealing with bad financial standing with the University.
- Accessing emergency food support.
- Applying for the grant support program.
- Can help point you in the right direction to access further financial support and assistance.
If your issue is not listed here, a Financial Counsellor may still be able to assist.