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  • ATO-held super

    ATO-held super is money we hold for you, paid to us on your behalf, that needs to go into your super.

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    ATO-held super includes amounts paid by employers, super funds, retirement savings accounts (RSA) providers or the government.

    Generally, super money will be transferred to us from super providers for any of the following:

    • unclaimed super for members aged 65 years or older, non-member spouses and deceased members
    • small lost member accounts and insoluble lost member accounts
    • inactive low-balance accounts
    • super for temporary residents who have left Australia for 6 months or more
    • accounts that were held in eligible rollover funds and transferred to us before they were required to wind up
    • amounts your fund transferred to us on a voluntary basis when it determined this was in your best interest.

    If we hold your super, you can consolidate or claim it from us once you've met certain conditions.

    Find out if you have ATO-held super

    To find out if you have ATO-held super, use our online services for individuals. You will need a myGov account linked to the ATO.

    You can use our online services to:

    • view details of all your reported super accounts, including any you have lost track of
    • combine multiple super accounts by transferring your super, including ATO-held super, into your preferred eligible super account – if this is a fund-to-fund transfer it will generally be actioned within 3 working days
    • withdraw your ATO-held super and put it into your bank account – if you meet certain conditions.

    For more information about myGov and linking to the ATO, visit Keeping track of your super.

    Download our ATO app to access our online services.

    Where ATO-held super comes from

    ATO-held super may include government super contributions, amounts received from employers and super amounts received from super providers as follows.

    Super guarantee payments

    Super guarantee is the super your employer must contribute to your super account if you are an eligible employee.

    If your employer has not paid the right amount of super for you, they have to pay the gap to us and we hold it on your behalf where the money cannot be paid into an active account.

    Government super contributions

    The super co-contribution is where the government helps low and middle-income earners boost their super savings by matching some or all of their personal contributions each year.

    The low-income superannuation tax offset (LISTO) is a government payment to assist low income earners save for their retirement. Individuals with income up to $37,000 may be eligible to receive a refund into their super account to offset the tax paid on their concessional super contributions. The offset will be 15% of your concessional contributions, up to a cap of $500.

    Amounts received from super providers

    Your super provider must report and pay your lost or unclaimed super to us if you are:

    • aged 65 years or over, haven't made a contribution for the past 2 years and your fund has been unable to contact you for 5 years
    • deceased, and your fund has been unable to pay the benefit to the rightful owner
    • a former temporary Australian resident, and it has been 6 months since you left Australia or since your visa expired
    • entitled to be paid your ex-spouse’s super in a divorce, and the fund is unable to contact you
    • a lost member whose account balance is less than $6,000
    • a lost member whose account has been inactive for 12 months, and your fund does not have the information needed to make a payment to you
    • a member whose account is an inactive low-balance account
    • a member on whose behalf your super fund paid amounts to us on a voluntary basis.

    Any amounts paid to us, under the above conditions, will be held as ATO-held unclaimed superannuation money (USM).

    If you are a beneficiary of a deceased person, you may be able to claim their USM.

    From 1 July 2013, interest will be payable on USM we hold for you. We will pay the interest when we process your claim. Generally, you do not have to pay income tax on these interest payments.

    Note: Interest on USM accounts is calculated using the consumer price index (CPI).

    Superannuation holding account (SHA) special account

    The SHA special account is a holding account designed to protect your small super amounts until they can be transferred into a super fund or retirement savings account. It is not a trust fund or super fund.

    We deposit government super contributions or super guarantee payments that have not been paid to a fund, into the SHA special account.

    Up to 30 June 2006, the SHA special account also accepted payments on your behalf from employers who could not find a super fund to accept their contributions.

    If there has been no account activity for 10 years, it becomes an inactive account.

    Transferring ATO-held super to your (Australian) super account

    If we're holding ATO-held super for you, use our online services to nominate the eligible super fund you would like to transfer the money to. This is the quickest way to transfer any ATO-held super to your preferred fund. To do this you'll need a myGov account linked to the ATO.

    To link the ATO to your myGov account:

    • sign in or create a myGovExternal Link account
    • link your myGov account to the ATO
    • select Super
    • you can then find and choose to transfer your super.

    Note: If you can't use our online services you can phone us.

    Proactive consolidation of ATO-held super

    We will initiate the transfer of certain types of ATO-held super to an eligible, active super account on your behalf. This will only happen where:

    • you have not made a request to transfer ATO-held super to your preferred super fund
    • you are aged less than 65 years
    • the amount of ATO-held super is $200 or more.

    The types of ATO-held super we can transfer include the following:

    • Small lost member accounts
    • Insoluble lost member accounts
    • Inactive low-balance accounts
    • Eligible rollover fund accounts
    • Amounts your super fund paid to us on a voluntary basis

    An eligible, active super account is a super account that:

    • is held by a living person
    • is in accumulation phase
    • accepts government rollovers
    • has received a contribution in the current or previous financial year
    • has a balance of $6,000 or more after the transfer of ATO-held super.

    For self-managed super funds (SMSF) the fund also needs to have a status of complying or registered on Superfund Lookup. You can check the SMSF’s status at Super Fund LookupExternal Link.

    If there is more than one eligible active account, we will select the account according to the law as follows:

    • account most recently received a rollover from the ATO within the current financial year, or
    • account most recently received a contribution within the current or previous financial year, or
    • account with the largest balance at the end of the last financial year.

    If following the above rules doesn't return one eligible active account, the ATO will determine where to send ATO-held super.

    Where possible, you will be notified if we transfer ATO-held super to an eligible active super account on your behalf.

    Payment of ATO-held super

    We will actively make a direct payment to you of your ATO-held super where the amount is less than $200 or you are aged 65 years or over. Where possible, you will be notified if we have made payments to you.

    To ensure you receive your ATO-held super money, we encourage you to check and update your financial institution details (FID) with us. You can do this through our online services and will need a myGov account linked to the ATO.

    The direct payment of ATO-held amount of less than $200 has no tax withheld and is not subject to tax, therefore you do not need to include this amount in your tax return.

    You may also be able to withdraw your ATO-held super if you meet certain conditions.

    There are 2 ways to check if you are eligible to withdraw your super – use our ATO Online services or complete a paper form.

    Use our online services for individuals

    You can use our ATO Online services to check if you are eligible and, if so, withdraw your ATO-held super and have it paid into your bank account via electronic funds transfer (EFT) or cheque.

    For more information about myGov and linking to the ATO, visit Keeping track of your super.

    To learn how to access our online services, watch Link your myGov account to the ATOExternal Link.

    Complete a paper form

    You can apply for withdrawal of your ATO-held super using a paper claim form. You may be required to provide documentation to support your application.

    Unclaimed super for 65 years of age or over

    If you are aged 65 years or over and we receive any unclaimed super money for you from your super fund we may make a direct lump sum payment (where we are able to) to you and your super money will be withdrawn from the superannuation system.

    If you do not wish us to make a direct lump sum payment to your nominated bank account of your ATO-held unclaimed super, you must request a super fund nomination. This may enable the ATO to directly pay these amounts to your nominated super fund (if active and eligible). You should make this request before we receive any unclaimed super from your super fund(s).

    If we receive any unclaimed super money for you and a fund nomination has not been requested, we may (where we are able to) make a direct payment.

    A superannuation fund nomination can only be made over the phone. If you wish to make a fund nomination you must phone us.

    Temporary resident claims

    If you are a temporary resident who has left Australia and your visa has ceased to be in effect, you can claim your super as a Departing Australia superannuation payment (DASP).

    For more information on eligibility and how you can claim DASP, visit Departing Australia superannuation payment (DASP).

    Transferring ATO-held USM to New Zealand

    Changes to the law in December 2020 mean that if you have permanently emigrated to New Zealand (or are a New Zealand citizen) and have worked in Australia and received super, you may be eligible to transfer your ATO-held USM to a New Zealand KiwiSaver scheme

    For further information please refer to ATO-held USM for New Zealand permanent residents and citizens.

    Statement of accounts for ATO-held super

    You may receive a statement of account (SOA) for your ATO-held super.

    Your SOA provides a list of transactions processed during the statement period. It shows your current account balances and any amounts due and payable for each super type or role within your ATO super account.

    Find out more about binding death benefit nomination.

    Last modified: 29 Nov 2022QC 25544