Each year your firm must file an Annual Report with the Law Society (Rule 1604), whether you have received money in trust during that year or not. The Annual Report must be in Form TA-3 and, unless you have been exempted from filing an Accountant’s Report (TA-5 or TA-5R) for the particular year, you must file such report at the same time. See the section on Trust Account Forms on the Law Society Website for further information about the Annual Report, including links to forms, questions and answers and accountant’s instructions.
The Trust Safety Department provides written notification, annually, to law firms regarding the filing of annual reports. This notification will advise if an Accountant’s report is required to be filed, a copy of the forms, and the due date. You muse file the Annual Reporting forms within three months of the end of your reporting period (Rule 1604(1)). The Executive Director of the Law Society has the discretion to require any lawyer to deliver an Annual Report with an Accountant’s Report.
When starting a new practice, you may choose your trust reporting period. It does not need to coincide with your year-end for tax purposes. The last reporting period ends on the day your firm ceases to practise, and you must make a final filing within three months of winding up. This final trust report filing must be in the form of an Accountant’s Report.
If you are late filing, the penalty is $500 per month for each month until the Law Society receives the reports. You may be suspended if you are in breach of your filing obligations (Rule 1612).
If you have been holding client trust funds on behalf of a person you have been unable to locate for two years, you may apply to the Executive Director to pay those funds to the Law Society under Rule 1702. On so paying, your liability to pay the money to the person on whose behalf it was held, or to that person’s legal representative, is extinguished. The Law Society maintains the money.
The Unclaimed Trust Funds – Payment Application (Form TA-9) requires you to specify the efforts you have made to locate the person and any unfulfilled trust conditions or undertakings in relation to the funds.