Providing and using TFNs

To improve the efficiency of transactions in the super system, you can use TFNs as a primary locator to link contributions and rollovers with member accounts, and to search for accounts that your members hold.


What new ways can you use to obtain and verify your members’ TFNs?

You can use the SuperTICK service to validate your member's TFN. You must use the SuperTICK service to validate a member’s TFN if you receive a request from a member or another fund to roll over a member’s benefit. You need to provide the following member details:

  • TFN
  • name
  • address (optional)
  • date of birth.

To provide flexibility in submitting validation requests single and bulk services are available. If the TFN provided is incorrect, but we can determine the correct one, we will provide this to you.

An unmatched response does not mean that the TFN is incorrect, only that our records do not match the information provided. Due to the nature of our matching processes, we are unable to advise which elements of the data provided cannot be matched.

What other ways can we provide TFN information?

We currently have a number of ways in which we can provide you with TFN information – this includes issuing a notice under sections 299TA and 299TC of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (SISA) 55 days after member contributions statement (MCS) lodgment. This is to provide you with the corrected TFN for your member when either:

  • the TFN you reported is incorrect, but we can determine the correct one
  • no TFN was reported but we can match one to your client when they have quoted a TFN on a previous MCS.

You should treat any TFN provided through a section 299TC notice as though it has been quoted by the member and update your records accordingly, unless the member has requested otherwise.

'Please resolve' letters are also issued annually for members that we cannot match to a TFN.

How can you use your members’ TFNs?

If you have a member’s TFN, you can use it as a primary locator to search for their accounts within your fund. You can also use your member's TFN to match contributions to their account, match a rollover request with the member’s account, and to identify where the member may have multiple accounts within your fund and consider whether consolidation is beneficial to your member. You can do this without requiring the explicit consent of your member.

However, the regulations include rules that you must follow when using a member's TFN to search for their accounts in another fund or using our SuperMatch2 service. You must have their consent to do this.

How can you get your member's consent to use their TFN?

You can obtain consent from your member to search for other super accounts belonging to them in a variety of ways, including consent provided:

  • in writing
  • over the phone, if their identity has been confirmed through your proof-of-identity procedures
  • through an online form or portal if the member has logged into their member account through a secure online website or portal
  • through a recorded instruction or interactive voice response function within a call centre.

Whatever method you use to obtain member consent, it is important that the member gives an explicit consent. Obtaining a general consent – for example, in a product disclosure statement – will not be sufficient.

At the time you obtain consent from your member, we recommend that you provide clear guidance so that they understand whether they are consenting to you using their TFN to search SuperMatch2, or whether they are consenting to you contacting a particular fund about their super.

You cannot use SuperMatch2 to search for accounts belonging to a member if they haven’t given you consent to use their TFN to search SuperMatch2.

If you are contacting another fund to search for accounts they may hold belonging to your member, you must ensure that you have the member’s consent to contact each fund.

How long does member consent last?

No guidance is given in the law or regulations on how long a member’s consent to use their TFN will last. We recommend that you inform your members of the duration of their consent according to your fund rules at the time they provide it and advise them on how they can withdraw their consent in the future, should they choose to do so.

Does consent to search SuperMatch2 also mean consent to roll over?

No. If your member gives you permission to use their TFN to search for accounts belonging to them using SuperMatch2, you cannot also use this consent to consolidate any accounts you find for them.

The legal requirements, including proof of identity requirements that apply to rollovers, also apply to the consolidation of any accounts located through a SuperMatch2 search.

A condition of using the SuperMatch2 service is that you inform each member you conduct a search for of the results of your search. When informing your member about any accounts you found in your SuperMatch2 search, you may want to discuss consolidating these accounts with your member.

However, there is nothing to prevent you from seeking a single consent from your member that covers both the search of SuperMatch2 and a request for the payment of any ATO-held amounts found. You need to take care to ensure that it is clear to your members that their consent covers both activities.

You may, in your SuperMatch2 search, request payment of ATO-held super amounts we hold for your member if you have your member's consent do so. Please note, only super guarantee amounts and amounts held in superannuation holding account (SHA) will be paid to you for the benefit of your member.

The table below provides some examples of situations and the consent required:

Table 2: What consent you need


Do you need your member’s permission specifically for this?

Search for member accounts within your fund

No specific consent is required. You can use the TFN as the primary locator to search for accounts within your fund.

Use SuperMatch2

You need your member’s consent to use their TFN to search SuperMatch2.

General consent, such as including it in a product disclosure statement will not be sufficient.

You find accounts on SuperMatch2

You must tell your member what you have found as soon as practicable. This should be within 28 days of receiving the SuperMatch2 report.

You need consent from your member to use their TFN to seek more information from funds about the accounts found.

A member can concurrently give their consent to you using their TFN to search SuperMatch2 and to seek more information from funds identified through SuperMatch2, provided these two purposes are clearly specified in the consent.

You also need their further consent to consolidate any accounts. It is a good time to discuss consolidation with your member when you are explaining your search results.

Your member may at any time use ATO online services to search for their own super holdings.

Your member tells you they have super with fund X

You need to ask this member for their consent to use their TFN to contact fund X and obtain more information.

Consolidating accounts between funds

You need to ask your member for consent to consolidate their accounts.

Your member may at any time use ATO online services to consolidate their own accounts.

Seeking information about member accounts from any fund

You cannot ask your member for consent to do this. You may only ask for consent to seek account information held by a specific super provider or by providers identified to you by SuperMatch2.

What happens if you use your member’s TFN in a way they haven’t consented to?

Misuse of member TFNs is serious and can attract penalties, including imprisonment and monetary fines.

Members who consider that their TFN has been mishandled may make a complaint to the Australian Information Commissioner.

What isn't decided

How can we better use the information on the remittance advice and recovery notice?

We are working with you to understand how you use the information we provide on the remittance advice and recovery notice (RARN) and if we should be providing the correct TFN in cases where we have already sent you a TFN notice for that member.

Industry representatives have told us it would be useful to have a derived TFN on the RARN to help you identify your members and allocating payments correctly.

The RARN would not become a way for a TFN notification – you would not be expected to update your system with a corrected TFN received on a RARN. You will receive corrected TFNs via the SuperTICK service.

    Last modified: 12 Oct 2016QC 25355