$20.8 billion in lost and unclaimed superannuation a new record

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The amount of lost and unclaimed superannuation has reached a new high, following law changes which expand the types of super accounts which need to be transferred to the ATO.

The total amount of lost and unclaimed superannuation reached a new high of $20.8 billion as at 30 June 2019, according to the ATO. This is an increase of $3.3 billion from the prior year.

Data source: ATO

The ATO has yet to release the data showing how much of this lost and unclaimed super was held by the tax office and how much by super funds. The most recent ATO statistics, as at 30 June 2018, had $17.5 billion total in lost and unclaimed super – with $13.4 billion held by funds and just over $4 billion held by the ATO.

Successive Governments have reduced the threshold at which super funds have to transfer lost super to the ATO, increasing the amount held by the tax office – which led to the spike in 2016/17. Additionally, the more recent Protecting Your Superannuation legislation expanded the criteria for when superannuation needs to be transferred from super funds to the ATO. It also gave the ATO enhanced powers to actively reunite people with their super.

“In total, we’ve received over 2.3 million inactive low balance accounts from super funds, valued at approximately $2.16 billion,” said ATO Assistant Commissioner Graham Whyte, speaking about the Protecting Your Super changes.

“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.”

Whyte said that so far $1.38 billion in superannuation has been returned, including $1.22 billion transferred into around 684,000 super fund accounts and $161 million paid directly into bank accounts for around 157,000 people.

“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.”

“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.”

“Anyone who thinks they may get a direct payment should make sure their bank account details are up to date by logging in to ATO online via MyGov.”

The ATO has released the amount of lost and unclaimed super by post code. Though, at least on a state-by-state level, this data is largely in line with population levels.

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