Nearly $18 billion in ‘lost’ super is waiting to be claimed, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) says.
As at 30 June 2017, there were more than 6.3 million lost and ATO-held super accounts.
The figures show that super funds are holding $14.12 billion of lost super, with a further $3.75 billion of unclaimed super held by the ATO.
The term ‘lost superannuation accounts’ is used to refer to accounts held by super funds where they have lost contact with the fund member. By law, after a period, ‘lost super accounts’ and balances are transferred to the ATO and are then considered to be ‘unclaimed super’ held by the ATO.
ATO Assistant Commissioner Debbie Rawlings said the easiest way for people to keep track of their super, find lost or unclaimed super, or combine their accounts, was by using ATO online services through myGov.
“Over the past four financial years we’ve reunited 1.68 million accounts worth $8.12 billion with the account owners, and there’s plenty more to be found,” Ms Rawlings said.
“By using myGov to track down your super, the money will be transferred to your preferred fund, generally within three working days.
“More people are finding their lost and unclaimed super through our online services every year, but these figures show there are many people who still may not realise how quickly and easily they can check their super accounts.”
Ms Rawlings said that once a person linked their myGov account to ATO online services, they would also be able to view all their super account details, including any that had been lost or forgotten, and could choose to claim or transfer their super online.
Alternatively, they could call the ATO Super Helpline on 13 10 20 to request direct claim or transfer paper forms, or speak to their super fund.
“People can lose contact with their super funds when they change jobs, move house, or haven’t updated their details with their super fund,” Ms Rawlings said.
“They may also lose track of their super from accounts established earlier in their career. While the number of people with multiple accounts has been falling, there are still almost 2.3 million Australians with three or more super accounts.
“You might choose to keep multiple accounts, but if you consolidate them into the one you prefer, you’ll avoid paying multiple sets of fees and charges.
“If you’re not sure whether to consolidate your accounts, check with your super fund who can advise you on issues such as insurance that may be attached to your accounts.”
Combined postcode data showed the Queensland cities of Mackay and Cairns topped the list for lost and unclaimed super, but New South Wales led the way on a state basis for both lost and ATO held super.
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