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  • Types of unclaimed super

    New law - From 1 July 2019 superannuation providers will be required to report and pay inactive low-balance accounts to the ATO. We will provide updates via our news and alerts services

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    If a person becomes entitled to a super benefit, as a general principle you should attempt to contact them as soon as you can. Their super entitlement will generally be considered USM if you've attempted to contact and pay them but have been unsuccessful.

    Member 65 years or older

    An amount payable to a member of a super fund is taken to be USM if all the following criteria are met:

    • the member has reached eligibility age (65 years or older if so prescribed by the fund's governing rules)
    • you have not received an amount for the member (or in the case of a defined benefit super scheme, no benefit has accrued for the member) within the past two years
    • after a period of five years since you last had contact with the member, you have been unable to contact them again after making reasonable efforts.

    Non-member spouse

    An amount payable to a non-member spouse is taken to be USM if all the following criteria are met:

    • a payment split applies to a splittable payment for an interest that a person has as a member of a fund
    • as a result of the payment split, the non-member spouse (or their legal personal representative if they have died) is entitled to be paid an amount
    • after making reasonable efforts and after a reasonable period has passed, you are unable to ensure that the non-member spouse or their legal personal representative will receive the amount.

    Deceased member

    An amount payable for a deceased member of a fund is considered to be USM if all the following criteria are met:

    • the member has died
    • you determine that a benefit (other than a pension or annuity) is immediately payable for the member, under the governing rules of the fund or by the law
    • you have not received an amount for the member (or no benefit has accrued for the member under a defined benefit super scheme) within the past two years
    • after making reasonable efforts and after a reasonable period has passed, you are unable to ensure that the benefit will be received by the person who is entitled to receive it.

    Former temporary resident member

    If we believe a former temporary resident has super in your fund, we will issue you with a section 20C notice. This requires you to report and pay the amount to us as USM.

    A member is a former temporary resident at a point in time if:

    • they held a temporary visa that lapsed at least six months previously and they left Australia at least six months earlier
    • they are not the holder of a temporary visa, a permanent visa or a prescribed visa, and have not made a valid application for a permanent visa
    • they are not an Australian or New Zealand citizen.

    Small or insoluble lost member

    A lost member account of a fund is taken to be USM if it does not relate to a defined benefit interest, and either:

    • the balance of the lost member account is less than $6,000 (small lost member account)
    • the lost member account has been inactive for 12 months and the provider is satisfied that it will never be possible to pay an amount to the member (insoluble lost member account).

    Inactive low-balance accounts

    A super account is an inactive low-balance account if all of the following criteria are met on unclaimed money day:

    • no contribution or rollover received for 16 months
    • the account balance is less than $6,000
    • the member has not met a condition of release
    • the account is not a defined benefit account
    • there is no insurance on the account
    • the fund is not a SMSF or small APRA fund

    However, an inactive low-balance account held by a regulated super fund is deemed to be active if any of the following have occurred within the last 16 months:

    • the member changed their investment options
    • the member changed their insurance coverage
    • the member made or amended a binding beneficiary nomination
    • the member notifies the Commissioner in writing that they are not a member of an inactive low-balance account
    • the super provider was owed an amount in respect of the member.

    See also:

    Last modified: 29 Mar 2019QC 24735