ASFA calls for unpaid super to be returned automatically

The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) is again calling for the government to amend laws and enable the tax office to reconcile Australians with millions in unclaimed super.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has released updated data that revealed the amount of unclaimed super has risen from $3.2 billion to $3.75 billion. These figures include money owed to departed and temporary residents.

There are more than 6.3 million ATO-held and lost super accounts that have a total value of almost $18 billion, as at 30 June.

Super funds hold $14.12 billion, while the ATO holds $3.75 billion in unclaimed super.

ASFA has consistently lobbied the government to return unclaimed super to active super accounts.

ASFA chief policy officer, Glen McCrea, said, ‘The active repatriation of accounts held by the Australian Taxation Office is consistent with the policy of reducing unnecessary accounts within the superannuation system and boosting the retirement savings of Australians. One way to greatly improve the system is to have the ATO, which has the details of the active superannuation accounts for most individuals with unclaimed super, to return unclaimed funds currently captured by legislated threshold transfers.’

The threshold at which super funds must transfer inactive account to the ATO rose to $6,000, which is one of the reasons for the increase in unclaimed super. An estimated 100,000 accounts were captured by the ATO due to this threshold change.

The level of information about super accounts held by the ATO has been enhanced due to recent changes to superannuation reporting requirements. The government can amend the Superannuation (Unclaimed Money and Lost Members) Act 1999 to allow the commissioner of taxation to pay unclaimed money into an individual’s current, active super account.

The holding of identifying information and tax file numbers in regards to most super accounts makes it easy for the commissioner to match active super accounts with their lost member accounts.