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Provision of member information

How superannuation providers may use the information the ATO provides about your individual members.

Last updated 11 August 2019

This page gives information about how you may use the information the ATO provides to you about your individual members. You can find technical guidance and specifications in relation to specific services in the relevant Business implementation guide and Terms and conditions for those services.

How we provide information

We may provide member information to you through various channels. The main method will be through the member account attribute services (MAAS) using two interactions:

  • The maintain member account interaction is where you or your administrator reports the member account and receives a response from us containing member information. You are required to report information using the MAAS form.
  • The provision of details (POD) service is an optional interaction that allows you and your administrator to request member information we hold. This service can be used:
    • where your member is at risk of becoming lost (in accordance with the regulations) and you require updated member/account information
    • to confirm whether a member meets the criteria of unclaimed money, including whether the member has died
    • to obtain current member details assisting you to contact and inform your members where the insurance on their account is at risk of lapsing and they have not made an election to maintain insurance
    • there is a defined benefit member account – the POD service will return information about if there is a Division 293 deferred debt.

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Legislative context

The disclosure of information about the tax affairs of a particular entity is prohibited, except in certain specified circumstances as outlined in Division 355 of the Taxation Administration Act 1953 (TAA).

Subsection 355-65(3) of the TAA allows us to disclose information about an individual's superannuation interests to superannuation providers or their administrators. We can disclose information where it is for the purpose of assisting a member to consider how they want to manage their superannuation interests or to assist the super provider to comply with or understand their obligations under taxation or superannuation law.

This includes enabling them to find all their superannuation interests and to make choices about whether to maintain or create such interests.

Disclosures under section 355-65 of the TAA can only be made to superannuation providers or their administrators for specific purposes. The recipient of this information needs to ensure the information is only used for the purposes for which it was disclosed.

If a member is considered ‘lost’ under the Superannuation (Unclaimed Money and Lost Members) Act 1999 (SUMLMA) information may be disclosed as specified within section 44 of the SUMLMA.

The Privacy Act 1988 limits the collection, storage, use and disclosure of personal information about individuals by us, and other Australian Government departments and agencies. Private sector provisions in the Privacy Act also regulate the way many private sector organisations collect, use, secure and disclose personal information. The private sector provisions aim to give people greater control over the way information about them is handled in the private sector by requiring organisations to comply with ten national privacy principles. These principles give individuals the right to know what information an organisation holds about them and a right to correct that information if it is wrong.

It is the responsibility of private sector organisations to obtain their own advice on the effect of privacy law, including the Australian Privacy Principles on their operations.

See also:

  • Link – Privacy Commissioner’s Guidelines to the Australian Privacy Principles and other relevant information sheets

Information we provide

If the following information is held on our systems, we will return the information once we receive a message from you or your administrator:

  • residential address
  • postal address
  • email address
  • mobile phone number
  • date of death
  • Division 293 deferred debt account.

How you can use information

How you can use the information will depend on whether the member is currently considered lost according to the regulations or if you consider the member to be at risk of becoming lost.

Lost members

A member is a lost member at a particular time if the member:

  • is uncontactable
  • is an inactive member
  • joined the fund from another superannuation provider as a lost member.

A key underlying concept is that it is the member that is lost – not the account.

If the member is already considered and reported as ‘lost’, information we provide may be used as follows:

  • Lost uncontactable – you can update a member as ‘not lost’ if they are 'lost – uncontactable' and we provide a new (electronic or non-electronic) address.
  • Lost inactive – you can update a member as ‘not lost’ once contact has been made and the member confirms their address (electronic or non-electronic).

We consider ‘new’ to mean the address is both different and more recent in comparison to the provider’s most recent address on record for the member.

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If an address (electronic or non-electronic) is less than two years old and it matches the address you consider to be the most recent contactable address for the member (electronic or non-electronic), you have verified the member’s address.

However, if you have reason to believe that the individual is no longer at this address (for example, if you have had returned mail), you should make contact with the member before you can consider verification.

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Phone numbers

We provide phone numbers for the purposes of making contact with your members, but they do not affect the member’s ‘lost’ status.

Member not yet lost but at risk of becoming lost

The legislation specifies that disclosure of information relating to an individual’s superannuation interests includes for the purpose of assisting a member to find all their superannuation. Similarly, the recipient of this information is restricted to using the information for its intended purpose.

Consequently, you can't use address information (electronic or non-electronic) from us when the member is not yet lost. Returned data should only be used to update member records once the member has confirmed the address.

If you are unable to engage with the member using the information provided, proceed with consideration of ‘lost member’ criteria as per the legislation and update the lost member status through the relevant service.

Unclaimed money provisions

Deceased members

You cannot use matching of addresses on deceased member accounts for the purpose of considering a member no longer lost. You can only update the member’s account and evaluate the status of the member under the unclaimed money provisions.

Member over 65

You can use information provided to evaluate the status of the member. If the member has reached eligibility age, and you have not received an amount in respect of that member within the last two years and a period of five years has passed since you last had contact with the member, you can use the information to contact your member.

If the reasonable attempts to contact are unsuccessful, you can't use the address information for the purposes of considering a member as ‘not lost’. Members meeting the above conditions are required to be assessed under the unclaimed money provisions.

If the member is over 65, lost (inactive or uncontactable) but has not yet met the unclaimed superannuation money general provisions, you can use the information we provide in the same manner as Lost members.

Start of example

Example 1

LMN fund receives returned unclaimed mail relating to their member, John. They have not received a contribution or rollover for John within the last three years.

John has not made contact with LMN regarding his membership in over five years.

According to LMN records, John is now 65 years old.

LMN receive an updated address from the ATO for John that is less than two years old. This matches the address they consider to be his most recent contactable address.

LMN assess the member account against the legislated requirements for unclaimed superannuation money general. They determine that they are required to report and pay John's balance as unclaimed super money general.

End of example


Start of example

Example 2

According to LMN fund records, their member Deidre just turned 65 years old.

No contributions have been received in the last two years. There has been no contact with Deidre for the last five years.

The fund has sent annual statements to Deidre's address and none of the mail has been returned unclaimed.

LMN receive an updated address from the ATO for Deidre. The address is more than two years old and does not match the address they consider to be the most recent contactable address for the member.

LMN fund is required to assess whether Deidre meets the unclaimed super money general provisions.

End of example

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Insurance at risk of lapsing

The TAA allows us to disclose information to superannuation providers for the purpose of assisting members to choose whether to maintain or create their superannuation interests.

From 1 July 2019 superannuation providers must provide their members with insurance on an opt-in basis where the member's account has been inactive for 16 months and the member has not elected to take out or maintain insurance on their account.

As not having insurance on their account is something that would affect a member's choice to maintain their superannuation interests, superannuation providers may use the information provided to contact their member to advise them that their insurance is at risk of lapsing.

Division 293 tax – deferred debt obligations

When Division 293 tax is assessed on a super fund member's defined benefit contributions, the debt is deferred. For information and assistance in relation to Division 293 tax and defined benefit contributions refer to Division 293 tax - deferred debt obligations for funds

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