Tidying up lost superannuation can “spark joy”, says ATO

Finding lost superannuation can “spark joy” says the ATO, after Australians used the tax office website to find and consolidate over $860 million in super.

The ATO says that over 66,000 people consoldiated more than $860 million, across over 105,000 accounts, in the last quarter of 2018 using ATO online.

ATO Assistant Commissioner Graham Whyte said these figures were an “encouraging result”.

“Tidying up seems to be a hot topic at the moment, so before you spend too much time re-organising your sock drawer and kitchen cupboards this summer, take a few minutes to tidy up your superannuation. Seeing the extra money in your consolidated superannuation will definitely spark joy” Mr Whyte said, seemingly in reference to the phase used by tidying consultant Marie Kondo.

“But there is still over $17.5 billion in lost and unclaimed super,” he said.

Though consolidating super accounts is often encouraged, care must be taken around details such as insurance. The ATO warns that “before consolidating, check with your fund to see if there are any exit fees or whether you will lose any valuable insurance”.

“If you’re not sure whether to consolidate, check with your super fund who can advise you on issues such as insurance that may be attached to your accounts”, Mr Whyte said.

Details about super accounts, including lost and unclaimed super, are available via the ATO website.

Government would like to tidy superannuation agenda

Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert said he was “pleased to see so many Australians actively reunite themselves with their lost super”. He also used the release of the figures as an opportunity to call for Labor to support the Government’s superannuation legislation.

“With over $17.5 billion in lost and unclaimed super and the Coalition Government’s superannuation reforms still awaiting further support in the Parliament I call on the Labor Party to support these important reforms,” Robert said.

In particular the Assistant Treasurer pointed to measures in the Government’s ‘Protecting Your Superannuation’ legislation, including capping fees for low balance accounts, banning exit fees, and transferring more accounts to the ATO. The Bill was last debated in June 2018, and the measures were originally announced in the 2018/19 Budget in May 2018.

Robert has said the Government would move amendments to its Protecting Your Super Bill to attempt to get it through the Senate, though these amendments have yet to be released publicly.

Robert also referred to the Government’s Bill to expand super choice and close the salary sacrifice ‘loophole’ – which was last debated in the Senate in November 2017.

With Parliament due to sit next Tuesday, the Government has been ramping up a campaign to try and get some of its super measures through the Parliament. Though Labor notes this requires the Bills actually be put to a vote.

Update: The Draft Legislation Programme for the Senate for next week only lists the ‘Protecting Your Super’ Bill, and none of the Government’s other superannuation Bills.

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