Show download pdf controls
  • Reporting unclaimed superannuation

    This information answers questions superannuation providers frequently ask about reporting of unclaimed superannuation money (USM).

    On this page:

    Former temporary resident section 20C notices

    Former temporary resident notices are issued under section 20C (S20C) of the Superannuation (Unclaimed Money and Lost Members) Act 1999 (SUMLMA).

    Separate notice for each account

    You must report and pay any super interest the member holds in your super fund if you receive a former temporary resident notification from us. You need to report and pay all accounts you currently hold for the member. You are also required to respond even where there is no amount owing, or the person does not have a super interest in the fund.

    When you receive the S20C notice through SuperStream you will receive a S20C notice for every account held by the member within your fund.

    When you receive the S20C file through the Electronic commerce interface (ECI) you are expected to identify any other accounts you hold for the member and assess if these accounts are to be paid as USM. Note: ECI is closing in December 2019.

    Member incorrectly identified as a former temporary resident

    If you believe one of your members has been incorrectly identified on the section 20C notice, email us at before you respond to the 20C notice for that member.

    You should include:

    • your provider name
    • your provider Australian business number (ABN)
    • the member's details, including
      • their name
      • date of birth
      • address
      • the date and period of the last super contribution for them.

    We may give you a deferral to lodge for this member. After investigation, we'll advise you if the member has been correctly identified as a former temporary resident.

    If your member is incorrectly identified as a former temporary resident and you advise us of this before responding, we will revoke the section 20C notice. Until you pay the member's account to us, we are not able to revoke the section 20C notice.

    Reported USM for a member incorrectly identified as a former temporary resident

    If you have already responded to our section 20C notice by reporting the member as unclaimed to us, you will need to request an adjustment for the member by completing the adjustment template to cancel the lodgment.

    Email us at to request a refund of the incorrectly identified member's contributions.

    Receive a notice for a member of a closed or wound up fund

    We must be kept up to date about the details of closed or wound-up super funds. You need to ensure that you have completed all tax obligations before winding up your super fund and notifying us in writing.

    Email us at and advise us of your super fund details. We will confirm that we have received written notification from you.

    You will also need to close the account using the relevant service.

    Notice for a member with total super money less than $6,000

    There is no minimum amount payable. You must pay us all amounts held for a member identified in a section 20C notice.

    Notice for a member whose money will be transferred

    You cannot transfer the member's super money to the eligible rollover fund once you have received a section 20C notice from us.

    You have already lodged and find another account

    If you identify another account for a member after you have lodged, you will need to report this to us by sending a new USM lodgment for the additional amount via SuperStream or ECI (until it closes in December 2019).

    You have already lodged and find additional money

    If you identify additional money for the member after the account has been closed and money paid to you, you will need to report this to us by sending a new USM lodgment for the additional amount via SuperStream or ECI (until it closes in December 2019).

    If tax file number (TFN) is not supplied

    If the former temporary resident didn't supply us with their TFN you must supply it when you report the unclaimed super. If you do not have their TFN, you can use the TFN we provided on the section 20C notice.

    If there are illiquid or frozen assets

    If you have received a former temporary resident section 20C notice, you are still required to report and pay. You can request a deferral of time to lodge your USM statement or make payment because of illiquid or frozen assets. We will advise you if your request has been accepted.

    See also:

    Number to report as former temporary resident notification

    Through ECI (until it closes in December 2019) or on paper. Your former temporary resident notification number is the 15-digit 'correspondence id'. You will find this number on the top right-hand corner of your section 20C notice. When lodging for a former temporary resident member on a USM statement, you must provide the temporary resident notification number (TRNN) from the section 20C notice which included that member.

    The TRNN is not required in a SuperStream USM message.

    Report USM for the wrong member

    You will need to use the USM adjustment template to cancel the previously reported entitlement. You can then send a new USM lodgment to report the correct member via SuperStream or ECI (until it closes in December 2019) or through the Business Portal.

    Paying tax on super contributions if no TFN supplied

    You still need to pay tax on super contributions if no TFN is supplied. This is even though USM statements are not subject to taxing provisions in the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997. The two requirements are separate and operate independently. You must pay tax on the no-TFN contributions income of your super fund for an income year, and you must pay the remaining USM to us if required.

    If you can't lodge by the scheduled statement day

    If you can't lodge by the scheduled statement day, you need to request a deferral to lodge. We will advise you if your request has been accepted.

    See also:

    How a subsequent fund determines the components of the original roll over benefit statement

    The recovery notice issued to the super fund provides a dollar figure amount but does not specify the components.

    The super fund can compare the components on the original roll over benefit statement (RBS) with the amended RBS to identify the components for the recovery amount.

    However, if there has been a further transfer of funds to another super fund, the subsequent super fund would have no record of the components of the original payment. Where a fund has not received the original RBS we will manage this by sending the following:

    • recovery notice
    • super overpayment member list
    • amended RBS
    • copy of original RBS.

    Unpresented cheques and USM

    Example: When a cheque is unpresented

    The fund has identified a member as deceased, and undertakes to pay a super death benefit to the nominated beneficiary. The beneficiary is a non-dependant of the deceased. The fund is required to pay the amount as a lump sum and withhold the relevant rate of tax.

    The fund determines that the lump sum has a taxed element subject to a 17% tax rate and an untaxed element subject to a 32% tax rate. The fund prepares and lodges a pay as you go (PAYG) payment summary and remits the correct amount of tax to us. The fund issues the PAYG payment summary along with the net amount as a cheque to the beneficiary.

    The cheque remains unpresented and despite the fund making reasonable attempts to contact the non-dependant beneficiary, the cheque goes stale after a 12 month period. The fund proceeds to cancel the cheque and assess the amount as USM- deceased member. The fund determines that they have not received an amount in respect of the member within the last two years and are unable to ensure that the benefit is received by the person who is entitled to it and they are required to pay the amount to us as USM.

    Example: What the fund has to do

    There is a PAYG payment summary for a super lump sum death benefit in the name of the non-dependant beneficiary. This will be matched to the non-dependants tax return for the relevant year (as the cheque has gone stale we can assume they have not reported it).

    Where an overpayment of income tax withholding (ITW) occurs in a previous financial year, the fund cannot claim the ITW back from us – see Repayment of overpaid amounts. As a period of 12 months has passed, we can assume the payment was in the previous financial year.

    The fund reports and pays only the net amount as USM under the deceased TFN using the relevant service as this is the amount that is currently held by the fund in the name of the deceased member.

    The fund reports the net USM amount as a tax-free component, as the appropriate tax has already been withheld and remitted to us in relation to the benefit.

    If the USM amount is claimed, then the amount would be paid from ATO-held super without tax as it has been reported as USM tax-free. Any interest payable on unclaimed super we hold will be paid when the claim is processed. Generally income tax is not payable on these interest payments.

    End of example
    Last modified: 05 Sep 2019QC 54402