• Reuniting you and your superannuation

    Many individuals lose track of their superannuation, especially when they change their name, address or job. Having several super accounts could mean that fees and charges are reducing your overall super investment. Many people are not aware of how to consolidate or claim their super, which contributes to the increasing amounts of lost and unclaimed super each year.

    Our strategy to reunite people with their super is an important part of our administration of the super system to help secure the retirement income of Australians.

    Enhancements to our online services

    Enhancements to our online services have made it easier for individuals to manage their super. We now display all reported membership records on ATO online services, using myGov, allowing individuals to locate and consolidate their super accounts with less red tape. Our application also now includes functionality to search for lost super.

    In the 2013–14 financial year, more than 549,000 searches were undertaken using our online services. Searchers then used our online service to consolidate nearly 154,000 super accounts – with a combined value of nearly $765 million.

    Success reducing numbers and values of lost accounts

    Our strategies to reduce the number and value of lost accounts continue to be successful.

    In March 2014, funds received updated addresses for 814,266 accounts for accounts held by their lost members. The value of these accounts totalled over $5.768 billion in lost super. Since that time, 290,512 accounts and $1.258 billion have been removed from the lost members register.

    We have visited funds recently and shifted to collaborative compliance approaches, resulting in funds removing lost accounts under $2,000 that were transferred to us as unclaimed super money. The numbers of under-$2,000 accounts on the lost members register have reduced from just over 2.250 million (in May 2013) to just over 655,000 (at 30 June 2014), with a corresponding reduction in value from just over $1.4 billion to $361.5 million. As part of these visits, we also provided funds with details of their high-value lost accounts. One entity has already removed just under $30 million from the lost members register, with further reductions to occur in October 2014.

    The culmination of these efforts has resulted in the number of lost member accounts at 30 June 2014 reducing by over 30% in comparison to 30 June 2013, with an associated reduction of over 10% in the value on the Lost Members Register.

    Our shift to using contemporary services has resulted in a successful pilot and follow-up e-mail/SMS campaign to selected lost members, which resulted in 3,731 new searches on ATO online including 1,048 completed electronic portability forms. This resulted in consolidation of $8,442,255 of super using ATO online. We will continue the use of SMS and e-mails to reunite individuals with ATO-held amounts including SMSF members and high value unclaimed super money owners.

    We have continued our proactive payments of unclaimed super money accounts to individuals, as well as pay out or rollover amounts up to the value of $10,000 where the member meets certain criteria and has advised us of their active fund details. From 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2014, we have proactively paid over 152,000 accounts with a value worth over $30.3 million and proactively rolled over 1,734 accounts with a value of over $1.5 million.

    The importance of having correct tax file numbers in the system allows us to, among other things, accurately display accounts and reunite people with their super. We therefore dedicate a special focus to matching accounts with their correct tax file number. If a fund has not reported an individual’s tax file number, but we have recorded this member’s correct tax file number from another fund, a new law allows us to provide this tax file number to the fund for future reporting purposes. We have recently provided funds with notices containing around 1.7 million corrected TFNs under this new provision. This will allow these accounts to be displayed on our Online services for individuals.

    Our focus

    While a significant proportion of the accounts that are held by funds are matched to a tax file number, we face the challenge of still having significant numbers of unmatched ATO-held accounts with a lack of quality data. Given that these unmatched accounts are not displayed on our Online services for individuals, the rightful owners are unlikely to be located and reunited with their super.

    Our focus is developing and implementing preventative strategies at key life-cycle points to encourage individuals to keep track of their super, especially with accumulating unwanted multiple accounts.

    Last modified: 18 Sep 2014QC 41636