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Super for individuals

Superannuation (or super) is money that is invested in a fund to provide for your retirement.

Last updated 29 September 2019

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Superannuation (or super) is money that is invested into a fund to provide for your retirement.

For most people, super begins when you start work and your employer starts paying super for you. You can also pay more into your super yourself so you have more money when you retire.

In most cases, you can't get access to your super until you retire but it's important to keep track of it.

Compulsory super by your employer

Most people receive compulsory super contributions from their employer (called super guarantee).

There is a minimum amount your employer should contribute based on your pay. You may be able to choose the fund your super is paid into.

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Paying more yourself

You can choose to put some of your own money into your super fund so you have more money when you retire – this is called making personal contributions.

From 1 July 2017, most people under 75 years old can claim a tax deduction for their personal super contributions.

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If you’re on a low income, you may also be eligible for government contributions.

The amount of tax on your contributions depends on whether the contributions are concessional (sometimes referred to as 'before tax') or non-concessional (sometimes referred to as 'after tax'), and whether you exceed the contribution caps.

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Keeping track of your super

If you've ever changed your name, address or job, you may have lost track of some of your super. Having several super accounts could mean that fees and charges are reducing your overall super savings. There are a number of ways to check and manage your super.

We can search all your super accounts for you – phone us on 13 10 30. Or you can search yourself if you have myGov account linked to the ATO.

If you have several super accounts, you can combine them into one preferred account to avoid having too many fees and charges. You can do this online too.

Example – Indigenous people reunited with their super in remote areas

In Point Pearce, home of the Narungga people on the Yorke Peninsula (South Australia), we helped many community members check, find, claim and consolidate their super. One of them was reunited with $87,000, and another person found $200,000 super they didn’t know they had.

In the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands (also in remote South Australia), ATO trained volunteers helped about 500 community members find and consolidate more than $3.5 million of super. One community member who wasn’t aware they had accumulated super money was reunited with a super balance of $100,000, and a retired taxpayer with $10,000.

There is $17.5 billion in lost and unclaimed super across Australia. We want to help you claim it if it’s yours. If you’re not sure how many super accounts you have or if you want to track your super, you can check your super using ATO online services through myGov.

You can also meet with our staff when we visit your community with our partners – Australian Securities and Investments Commission and First Nations Foundations.

End of example

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Accessing your super

You can get access to your super savings when you retire or turn 65 years old.

You can only get earlier access to your super in some special cases, such as a serious medical condition, severe financial hardship or the first home super saver scheme.

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