• Types of unclaimed super

    Unclaimed super falls into the following categories:

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

    Member 65 years or older

    An amount payable to a member of a super fund is taken to be unclaimed super 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 unclaimed super 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 unclaimed super 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 unclaimed super.

    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 previously
    • 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 accounts

    A lost member account of a fund is taken to be unclaimed super 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).

    Next steps:

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    Reporting unclaimed super

    Super providers must report and pay the following lost accounts as unclaimed super:

    • lost accounts with balances of less than $6,000 (small lost member accounts)
    • lost accounts which have been inactive for a period of 12 months and have insufficient records to ever identify the owner of the account (insoluble lost member accounts).

    Frequently asked questions

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

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    Former temporary resident section 20C notices

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

    If a member's account is listed multiple times on the notice

    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 report and pay all accounts you currently hold for the member, using the appropriate member status for each account.

    You should also report any other accounts that have been paid out or there is no balance due and payable.

    If your systems are unable to do this, report and pay the currently held account only. We will administer the extra accounts internally.

    The same account information cannot be submitted for a member more than once in a USM) statement.

    If you incorrectly identified a member as a former temporary resident

    If you believe one of your members has been incorrectly identified on the section 20C notice, email us at SuperCRT@ato.gov.au before you prepare your USM statement 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, and 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 lodgment, we will revoke the section 20C notice. Once you pay the member's account to us, we are not able to revoke the section 20C notice.

    If you lodged a USM statement for a member incorrectly identified as a former temporary resident

    If you lodged a USM statement for a member you incorrectly identified as a former temporary resident, you will need to lodge another USM statement for that member. Include both the:

    • amendment indicator status field marked as 'A – amendment'
    • member status field marked as 'E – error', indicating that the member was incorrectly reported on the previous statement.

    Email us at SuperCRT@ato.gov.au to request a refund of the incorrectly identified member's contributions.

    If you receive a notice reporting account balances of zero

    You still need to report zero account balance if you receive a notice for former residents. You must complete this information on your USM statement using the correct member status:

    A – used only when the fund holds no money for a member because the balance has been previously paid to us as unclaimed monies (regular, temporary resident, small or insoluble).

    T used only when the account has been transferred to another super fund.

    D – used only when the account has been paid out as a departing Australia superannuation payment (DASP).

    C – used only when the amount has been claimed by the member under another condition of release.

    F – used only if, for a reason that isn't covered by another code, the fund holds no balance for the member and; therefore, has nothing to pay to us.

    Put zero as the payment components and total for the former temporary resident member. You cannot use a USM non-lodgment advice to report former temporary residents in response to a section 20C notice from us.

    If you don't receive a notice for a former temporary resident

    If you have not received a former temporary resident notification for a member from us, you are not required to report or pay unclaimed super for them.

    If you 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 SuperCRT@ato.gov.au and advise us of your super fund details. We will confirm that we have received written notification from you.

    A 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.

    A notice for a member whose money will be transferred

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

    A notice for a member who is no longer with your super fund

    We will not revoke a section 20C notice if a member is no longer with your super fund. You will need to report the member on your USM statement using the appropriate member status:

    • F – no balance due and payable for member
    • I – identity of member unknown
    • T– transferred.

    USM statements and former temporary residents

    If you have already lodged and find another account

    If you identify another account for a member after you have lodged, you will need to lodge another USM statement for that member. You should indicate that the member data is original, record the temporary resident notification number from your original USM statement and provide the new account number for that member.

    If 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 lodge another USM statement for that member. You should indicate that the member data is amended, report the correct data (the amended full balance) on your USM statement and pay the additional amount. Include the temporary resident notification number from your original USM statement for that member.

    If you receive a former temporary resident section 20C notice for a member in another category

    If the member has reached eligibility age (65 years old or older) and you have not yet reported and sent payment for the member, you must report them as 'R – Report and payment for a former temporary resident'.

    If the member is deceased or is a non-member spouse and you have not yet reported and sent a payment for the member, you must report them as 'U – Unclaimed'.

    If the member's interest has previously been reported and paid to us for unclaimed purposes, with the status 'U', 'P' or 'Q', you must report the member again with a status of 'A – Already paid as USM'.

    If TFN is not supplied

    If the former temporary resident didn't supply us with their tax file number (TFN) you must supply it on your USM statement. If you do not have their TFN, 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

    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.

    Scheduled statement days for all unclaimed super

    The scheduled statement days for all unclaimed super are the same. They are generally on 30 April and 31 October as prescribed in the legislation. The law also allows the Commissioner of Taxation to prescribe a different scheduled statement day via legislative instrument in special circumstances (for example, new policy changes to allow funds more time to lodge and pay).

    Lodging and correcting unclaimed super

    You can report all categories of unclaimed super on the same USM statement if the scheduled statement day is the same for all unclaimed super types.

    Checklist before lodging your USM statement

    Thoroughly check your USM statement before lodging to avoid your statement being rejected or delayed. You should:

    • check that the supplier name and ABN on your statement match
    • check that your provider name is correctly recorded and matches your provider ABN reported on the statement
    • provide the correct scheduled statement day  
      • 31 October of the same year
      • 30 April of the following year
       
    • provide the unclaimed money day (30 June or 31 December) if the records relate to unclaimed money (UM) or small lost members (SLM) and insoluble lost members (ILM) and your statement contains member records with a member status of either:    
      • U – unclaimed
      • N – no longer unclaimed
      • P ILM accounts
      • Q SLM accounts
      • G no longer lost
      • E – error.
       
    • check your payment is for the correct amount (incorrect payments may lead to delays in processing your statement while we establish whether your statement is incomplete or incorrect)
    • check that the number of members you are reporting is correct
    • check you have reported the correct member status for each member.

    You must submit your statement by the relevant scheduled statement day.

    Errors may delay the complete processing of your USM statement. Your USM statement will be deemed 'not lodged' until errors are corrected.

    See also:

    Lodging a non-lodgment advice for members over 65 or deceased

    From 1 July 2010, you can report a non-lodgment advice electronically for:

    • unclaimed super for members who are over 65 years old
    • deceased or non-member spouse accounts
    • small and insoluble lost members.

    You can report electronically on the same USM statement if they both have the same scheduled statement day.

    You can also report former temporary residents on the same statement as the non-lodgment advice for other unclaimed super. However, you cannot lodge a non-lodgment advice to report a former temporary resident's unclaimed super in response to a notification from us (even if the account balance is zero).

    If you are reporting a non-lodgment advice on paper for unclaimed super (over 65 years old, deceased and non-member spouse accounts) and/or small and insoluble lost member accounts, you must report former temporary residents' unclaimed super on a separate USM statement.

    If you lodge a USM statement with an error in the details

    You will need to lodge another USM statement and report the correct details for that member. You should indicate that the member data is amended and report the correct data on your USM statement.

    If you lodge a USM statement for the wrong member

    You will need to lodge another USM statement and report the details for the incorrectly reported member, with the member status of 'E – Error'. You should indicate that the member data is amended and report the total member entitlement field as zero on the amended USM statement.

    If you identify another account for a member after lodging

    You will need to lodge another USM statement for that member. You should indicate the member data is original, and provide the new account number for that member. For a member identified as a former temporary resident on a section 20C notice, you should also record the temporary resident notification number from your original notification.

    If you identify additional money after and account is closed

    You will need to lodge another USM statement for that member if you identify additional money after lodging, and the account has been closed and money paid to you. You should indicate the member data is amended, report the correct data (the amended full balance) on your USM statement and pay the additional amount. For a member identified as a former temporary resident on a section 20C notice, you should also include the temporary resident notification number from your original USM statement for that member.

    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.

    Small and insoluble lost member accounts

    How to determine an insoluble lost member account

    According to section 8 of the SUMLMA, a small or insoluble lost member account must meet the definition of 'lost' in regulation 1.03A of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Regulations 1994 (SISR). When considering if a lost member account is insoluble, you should be satisfied that the member meets the definition by asking: 'Does your fund hold enough information about the member to enable you to find the member?'

    If the answer is no, then ask: 'If the member seeks to claim their benefit in the future, would the information held enable you to verify that that person is the owner of the benefit?'

    The following are examples of when there is insufficient information to establish account ownership.

    • You only have the member's name (a single piece of information).
    • You have the member's name and know the contributions were made by a large national employer – due to the size of this employer, it may not be possible to establish ownership.

    The following are examples of when there is sufficient information to establish account ownership.

    • You have the member's name and their full date of birth (two complete pieces of information).
    • You have the member's name, know that the contributions were made by a small business in Byron Bay, and have the employer's ABN – the ABN may enable the information to be verified against the employee's payment summary.

    Notifying a member if their account is transferred as unclaimed super

    Generally, you do not have to notify a member if their account is being transferred to us as unclaimed super as the person already meets the definition of a lost member. Therefore, the exception in subsection 1017B (7A) of the Corporations Act 2001 as inserted by Part 14 of Schedule 10A to the regulation will be satisfied automatically.

    There may be circumstances when this exception does not apply. Consider whether your fund's current administrative practices ensure that if there is no address for the lost member, you can show you have been unable to obtain an address for the person and have taken reasonable steps to locate that person but have been unable to do so. If you can demonstrate this, you will meet the relevant exceptions of the Corporations Act. If not, you can apply to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to seek to have this section of the legislation not apply.

    Reporting a request to transfer after the unclaimed money day

    You must provide a statement for any lost member accounts you hold at the end of the unclaimed money day.

    If a small or insoluble lost member account is identified on the unclaimed money day, but before lodging your statement, the member's circumstances change and no payment is required to us. However, you must still lodge a statement for this account.

    When lodging a USM statement, you can use the member status 'G – no longer lost'. For small or insoluble lost member accounts, this indicates to us you stopped being the holder of the account or the member stopped being lost between the unclaimed money day and the day the report is lodged.

    Reporting if the interest takes the balance to $6,000 or more

    If a lost member account meets the definition of a small lost member account on the unclaimed money day, then it should be reported as such.

    If an account is credited with interest before the corresponding scheduled statement day and this results in an account balance of $6,000 or more, it should still be reported as a small lost member account. The full balance of the account must be paid to us, as the value of the account was below $6,000 on the unclaimed money day.

    Reporting lost members with balances less than $6,000 not reported as lost

    All accounts that fit the definition are to be reported and paid as unclaimed super. Lost member accounts must meet the lost member definition in the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Regulations 1994 (SISR). This definition does not include the requirement that the member has been previously reported to the lost member register (LMR).

    A member must first meet the lost member definition for their account to qualify as a small lost member account. The definition of a lost uncontactable member has been updated. This change also affects the definition of a small lost member account.

    An activity test has been included in the definition of uncontactable lost members so your fund can avoid transferring accounts that are still receiving contributions.

    Your members are defined as lost uncontactable if you have not received a contribution or rollover for them within the last 12 months and either:

    • you have never held an address for the member
    • two written communications have been returned unclaimed; note that if one written communication has been sent to the last known address and returned unclaimed, you may choose to class the member as uncontactable.

    Therefore, if you have a new member you are receiving contributions for but you don't have their address details, they will not be considered a lost uncontactable member. These type of accounts will not meet the small lost member definition if their balance is below $6,000. This will provide you with an opportunity to obtain their contact details before you are required to report them as a lost member.

    Member accounts that are inactive but not lost

    Funds can have members who are defined as inactive as contributions have not been received for the last five years. However, they are not 'lost' members' because their addresses are known.

    According to section 8 of the SUMLMA, a small or insoluble lost member account must be a lost member according to the SISR.

    SIS regulation 1.03A (1) contains the definition of lost members and this includes 'inactive' members. If a member meets the full definition of 'inactive' then they may be a lost member account for the purposes of the SUMLMA.

    The 'inactive' test is a separate test to being 'uncontactable'. Therefore, a member can qualify as a 'lost member' without being uncontactable.

    Reporting members with balances less than $ 6,000 and unclaimed

    Small and insoluble lost member accounts can be included on the same USM statement as other unclaimed super (for example, members over 65 years or deceased).

    The due dates for reporting of unclaimed super monies are 31 October and 30 April.

    Account balance less than $6,000 on unclaimed money day

    The member account remains your responsibility until it is reported and paid to us.

    Small or insoluble lost member accounts can be lodged and paid to us any time between the unclaimed money day and the relevant scheduled statement day. For example, for an unclaimed money day of 30 June, accounts must be lodged and paid by the scheduled statement day of 31 October. They can also be reported and paid at the same time as other unclaimed super or separately, whichever you prefer.

    Any accounts which stop being 'lost' between the unclaimed money day and the date the report is lodged need to be reported with a member status of 'G – no longer lost', even though no amount will be paid. This applies to accounts that are claimed or when the member is located in the period 30 June to the actual lodgement date of the USM statement.

    Accounts which have previously been reported to the LMR but have now been found should be reported on a new lost member statement (LMS) as found.

    Electronic validation of TFN

    If you are unable to provide the member's TFN, you can enter nine zeroes (that is, 000000000) in the TFN field for members being reported as small lost member accounts or insoluble lost member accounts via the electronic commerce interface (ECI). The file will not be rejected.

    If you are reporting former temporary resident unclaimed super in response to a section 20C notice, the member's TFN must be reported and must match the TFN advised by us on the notice.

    General interest charge if you don't meet payment requirements

    The general interest charge (GIC) may apply when you don't pay unclaimed super (includes small or insoluble lost member accounts) owing to us by the due date. You may also be found guilty of an offence and need to pay an administrative penalty if you don't give us the statement by the due date.

    If a member account is both 'small' and 'insoluble'

    Either category is valid if a member account meets both the small and insoluble tests. The lost member tests at the start of the electronic reporting specifications don't form part of the system specification or legal requirements. They can be disregarded if you don't find them useful.

    You must report and pay all lost member accounts that meet either definition. A lost account that meets the definition of both a small lost member account and an insoluble lost member account as at the end of the unclaimed money day could be reported as either of these categories.

    However, by running test 1 first, you should be able to pick up all of these accounts as 'small lost member accounts'. This means you don't need to work out the account's status under the more complex test 2.

    An insoluble account that is just more than $6,000 as at the end of the unclaimed money day may fall below $6,000 at the time of lodging and paying the statement. These accounts will not qualify as small lost member accounts, as they did not meet the small lost member criteria as at the unclaimed money day. In these cases, you can only report these accounts as insoluble.

    If more than one definition applies

    If more than one definition applies, the order of precedence is:

    1. unclaimed super that meets the definitions for either a deceased member or a non-member spouse
    2. former temporary residents identified on a section 20C notice
    3. unclaimed superannuation money for members older than 65 years old
    4. small or insoluble lost member accounts.

    It's up to you to work out the order in which you test for small or insoluble accounts. However, running the test for small accounts first may be the easiest.

    Criteria for small or insoluble lost member accounts is not age-related

    The definition of small lost member accounts and insoluble lost member accounts are not age-related. All accounts that meet either definition are to be reported, regardless of the age of the account owner. The only age-related criteria for unclaimed super are under section 12 of the Superannuation (Unclaimed Money and Lost Members) Act 1999.

    The term 'lost' for small and insoluble and lost members register

    The term 'lost' for small and insoluble unclaimed super members has the same definition as it does for lost members register (LMR) members. All accounts that meet the definition of either a small lost member account or an insoluble lost member account are to be reported and paid as unclaimed super.

    According to section 8 of the SUMLMA, a small or insoluble lost member account must meet the definition of 'lost' in regulation 1.03A of the SISR.

    If an account is reduced to zero or negative between the unclaimed money day and reporting

    Zero or negative balance accounts should be reported with the member status of 'G'. The amount reported should reflect the balance as at the unclaimed money day.

    The member status 'G –No longer lost' indicates that between the unclaimed money day and the day the report is lodged, the member has been found or you have stopped holding the account.

    If you hold money on the unclaimed money day (for example, $19), but on the scheduled statement day that amount is $0, you must report using status 'G' and report the amount of money held on the unclaimed money day ($19). You have no obligation to pay this money as the balance at the scheduled statement day is now $0.

    The balance on the unclaimed money day should not include any amounts that are yet to be credited or debited from the account. That is, you are not required to add interest or deduct fees as at this date.

    If the only small and/or insoluble lost member accounts you hold are $0 on the unclaimed money day and on the scheduled statement day the balances are still $0 you would report as a non-lodgment advice (NLA).

    Last modified: 07 Dec 2016QC 24735