Government’s $220m super grab

The Government is about to top up its coffers to the tune of $220 million by taking over the ‘lost’ super accounts of an estimated 100,000 Australians.

By the end of the year, any super funds with balances of up to $6000 that are deemed ‘lost’ or ‘unclaimed’ will be handed over to the Australian Tax Office.

The new $6000 threshold is an increase from the $2000 threshold which was applicable this time last year.

On 31 December 2015, the threshold rose to $4000, which delivered over $196.5 million in revenue. The increase to $6000 will add just under $220 million to the Government’s pockets.

The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) is urging people to check if they have lost or unclaimed super funds before the new threshold increase comes into effect.

ASFA estimates that a person with a $5000 super fund that is taken over by the ATO will miss out on $225 in annual investment earnings. The Government would take any earnings made by the inherited funds.

While ASFA has lobbied the Government to return any unclaimed super funds to the fund-holder, a Treasury spokesperson claims any lost super funds transferred to the ATO will be protected from fund erosion and will have its value preserved “until they can be reunited with the member”.

“Unlike super funds, the ATO does not charge any fees for maintaining these accounts. A higher threshold means more small lost member accounts can be protected from fee erosion,” said the Treasury spokesperson.

According to an ATO spokesperson, around $234 million in lost super was transferred back to owners in 2015-16. Currently, the tax office holds just under $14 billion in unclaimed super.

We’ve got some great advice on how to check for unclaimed super, or you can head to ASIC to check its unclaimed money database, or click here to learn if a state or territory government has any of your money.

Do you know if you have any unclaimed super? What do you think of the Government making a grab for these accounts?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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