ATO publishes lost super hotspots

There is more than $20.8 billion in lost and unclaimed super in Australia, according to new data from the Australian Tax Office (ATO).

In a bid to reunite Australians with all their super, the ATO has published the lost and unclaimed super by postcode.

“Often, people lose touch with their fund by simply changing jobs or moving home. It’s important to know that this doesn’t mean it’s lost forever. Getting back in touch is easier than you think,” said ATO assistant commissioner Graham Whyte. He added that last year more than 540,000 active, lost and unclaimed super accounts worth more than $4.4 billion were consolidated using ATO online via myGov.

New legislation makes it easier for Australians to recoup lost super without them needing to take any action. The new law requires super funds to report and pay ‘inactive low balance accounts’, including any accounts that have not received a contribution for 16 months and have a balance below $6000.

“In total, we’ve received over 2.3 million inactive low balance accounts from super funds, valued at approximately $2.16 billion,” said Mr Whyte.

“We are now working to reunite Australians with these amounts by either transferring it into an active super account, or directly into their bank account where the amount is less than $200 or the member is aged over 65 years.

“So far, we have reunited just over 841,000 accounts worth nearly $1.38 billion. This includes approximately 684,000 accounts worth $1.22 billion that have been transferred into an individual’s active super account and approximately 157,000 accounts worth $161 million directly to individuals’ bank accounts. We will be continuing this work throughout November and into the future. We will let you know after we have reunited you with your super.”

Mr Whyte expects more than one million people to receive a direct payment.

“With the ATO now able to reunite these inactive low balance accounts and previously unclaimed accounts, we’ve already started to see some incredible examples of people receiving meaningful boosts to their retirement savings,” he said.

“One woman aged 68 will be directly paid over $1.5 million that was unclaimed and she’d lost touch with.

“Another woman was previously reunited with over $600,000 of unclaimed super after losing her home in a bushfire. As she was over 65, we were able to pay that money directly to her and she is now able to use this money to rebuild her life.

“In this case, it wasn’t until the woman reached out to us that she realised she had so much super. That’s why it’s great that we can now start proactively reuniting people with their super that they might not know about.”

Australians who think they may be eligible for a direct payment should make sure their bank account details are up to date by logging in to ATO online via MyGov, said Mr Whyte.

“Even if you won’t be eligible for a direct payment, it’s important to do your future a favour by engaging with your super now.

“While it’s great that this new legislation means we can now proactively reunite Australians with their super, there are instances where we cannot reconnect you with your super.

“That’s why I recommend using ATO online to check that you aren’t missing out on any lost or unclaimed super that’s being held by us or your super fund.”

Are you sure you don’t have any lost or unclaimed super? Have you used the ATO Online tool to find any lost funds you may be missing?

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