Nick Xenophon has commenced the drafting of legislation that would force the Government to use ATO data-matching software to find the rightful owners of so-called ‘lost’ super.
Currently, the Government lays claim to ‘lost’ super accounts with balances of less than $6000, labeling the cash as revenue, until such time as it is claimed by its rightful owner. While the money doesn’t accrue investment returns, it does rise at the rate of inflation. A super account is deemed lost if the owner cannot be contacted for a period of 12 months.
The threshold for lost super accounts has gradually increased from $2000 in 2012, to $4000 and then to $6000 on 1 January 2017. The revenue, held by the Australian Tax Office (ATO), totals $2.5 billion from 4 million accounts.
Nick Xenophon is planning to push the Government to use the ATO’s data-matching software to pay money into accounts rather than wait for the cash to be claimed.
Mr Xenophon’s proposed legislation matches the request made to Treasurer Scott Morrison by the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA).
While the Government cannot afford to lose this stream of revenue, its precarious position in the Lower House, especially in light of Cory Bernardi’s defection last week, means that it can ill-afford to have Mr Xenophon and his Team offside.