Lost and unclaimed super climbs to $16 billion
The ATO is urging super members to check for lost or unclaimed super, with one in four currently holding multiple super accounts.
New data from the ATO indicates there is currently $16 billion in lost and unclaimed super across Australia.
The Tax Office said this is an increase of $2.1 billion since last financial year.
The ATO explained that becomes ‘lost super’ when it is still held by the fund but the member is unreachable or the account is inactive. Super funds currently hold $10.4 billion in lost super, it said.
Super providers are required to report and pay super to the ATO once it reaches certain USM category requirements. The ATO currently holds $5.6 billion in super, an increase of $1.6 billion (40%) since 2019.
ATO deputy commissioner Emma Rosenzweig explained that all lost member accounts with balances of $6,000 or less are transferred to the ATO, which means there are large sums of money waiting for people to claim.
Since November 2019, Ms Rosenzweig said the ATO has proactively consolidated almost 4.7 million accounts with a value of $7.1 billion dollars.
“While we’re doing all we can to get this money back where it belongs, we rely on people keeping their contact information up-to-date. The best thing you can do to ensure you’re getting what you’re entitled to is checking that your current contact information and bank account details are correct,” continued Ms Rosenzweig.
The new data also shows almost 1 in 4 (23 per cent) Australians hold two or more super accounts which can contribute to forgetting about or losing super.
“It’s important to remain engaged with your super fund through all stages of your life, not just when you are ready to retire,” said Ms Rosenzweig.
“While we know that some people intentionally maintain a number of accounts, some are unaware that this is the case. If you’ve unknowingly got multiple accounts, you could possibly be losing hundreds of dollars a year to fees.”
Ms Rosenzweig said that finding lost or unclaimed super can be done in a matter of minutes.
“Super is one of the most important investments many Australians will have during their lifetime, which is why we want to reunite hardworking Australians with what is rightfully theirs. When it comes to protecting your financial future, every bit counts,” said Ms Rosenzweig.
“People often lose contact with their super funds when they change jobs, move house, or simply forget to update their details. This doesn’t mean your super is lost forever – far from it. By accessing ATO online services through myGov, you can easily find your lost or unclaimed super.”
Members that are unsure about whether or not to consolidate their account should check with their super fund who can advise if there are any exit fees or whether they will lose any valuable insurance, the ATO said.