If you're an Australian Prudential Authority (APRA) regulated super fund and you are applying the unclaimed superannuation protocol, the following information provides guidance in the more complex situations
An amount you hold with respect to a member may be assessed as meeting more than one category under the Superannuation (Unclaimed Money and Lost Members) Act 1999 (SUMLMA). If this happens, only report and pay the amount to us once.
Follow the order of precedence below to report and pay in the correct category:
- non-member spouse or deceased member
- member who is a former temporary resident identified on a section 20C notice
- member who has reached eligibility age
- small or insoluble lost member account
- inactive low-balance account
- eligible rollover fund account
- trustee voluntary payment.
What to do in common situations
You may find the following common situations:
- Former temporary resident dies
- Former temporary resident reaches eligibility age
- Lost member reaches eligibility age
- Inactive low balance account and lost member account
If your member is a former temporary resident for whom you received a section 20C notice, and you also hold an amount in respect of that member that satisfies the definition of unclaimed money in circumstances where the member has died, report the amount as unclaimed money (as a deceased member). Don't report it as a superannuation interest of a member who is a former temporary resident.
If your member is a former temporary resident for whom you received a section 20C notice, and you also hold an amount in respect of that member that satisfies the definition of unclaimed money in circumstances where the member has reached the eligibility age, report the amount as a superannuation interest of a member who is a former temporary resident. Don't report it as unclaimed money of a member who has reached the eligibility age.
If you hold an account in respect of a member that meets the definition of a lost member account and the amount held with respect to the member also meets the definition of unclaimed money in circumstances where the member has reached eligibility age, report the amount as unclaimed super as a member who has reached eligibility age. Don't report it as a lost member account.
If you hold an account in respect of a member that meets the definition of both an inactive low balance account and a lost member account, report the amount as a lost member account. Don't report it as an inactive low balance account.
You must take action in the following situations to make sure that we have accepted and processed your lodgment:
- If we successfully process your data message, we will send your gateway an unclaimed superannuation money outcome response (USMOR) message. USMORs may be delayed during peak USM lodgment periods.
- If your gateway didn’t receive an USMOR and
- also did not receive a technical receipt – your gateway provider should re-send the message
- did receive a technical receipt – lodge a request via the Super Enquiry Service with details of the technical receipt.
- Timely notification of reporting issues is critical to ensure your members are not affected. You must reconcile your data and payment messages in a timely manner.
- If you get a data message error – you must take the necessary corrective action and resend the message within 30 days. When you re-send your data, use the same payment reference number (PRN) on the matching payment message to ensure synchronisation occurs. For assistance with matching new messages with old payments lodge a request via the Super Enquiry Service.
- If we receive a payment but we reject or don’t receive the matching data message, we will not return the payment to you. On request, we can only refund overpayment amounts.
If you become aware of a material error or omission in any information in the statement, you are required to correct and resubmit it no later than 30 days after becoming aware of it. Request a deferral if you can't meet this deadline.
Interest and penalties may apply. To help minimise these, lodge as soon as possible.
If your adjustment involves an increased unclaimed money amount, report this to us by sending a new lodgment for the additional amount.
Decrease, transfer or cancel adjustments
Use the USM adjustment template if you need to decrease, transfer or cancel a previously reported entitlement. You can then send a new unclaimed superannuation money (USM) lodgment to report the correct entitlement
Example 1: when to lodge an adjustment
Member Sarah Black with DOB 17/02/1946 is identified as member who has reached eligibility age (generally 65 years old) and the trustee has lost contact with that member.
The account for a different member, Sarah Black with DOB 03/10/1976, is reported and paid to the ATO in error.
The super provider becomes aware of the reporting error. They request an adjustment via Online services for business as soon as possible to have the incorrect lodgment cancelled and the payment refunded.End of example
Example 2: when to lodge a full adjustment
A lodgment is made for 417 members that have been identified as meeting the unclaimed money criteria.
The super provider identifies that due to a system error only 400 members should have been reported. Payment was made for those 400 members.
The super provider lodges an adjustment template to request a cancellation of the entire lodgment. The super provider then re-reports for only the correct members using the same PRN as for the original payment.
Please note that where a payment is received for an amount less than the amount reported, none of the members reported in the lodgment will receive their super entitlements until the reported and paid amounts match.End of example
Example 3: when to lodge a partial adjustment
A lodgment is received for 32 members that have been identified as meeting the unclaimed money criteria. A matching payment is received for the lodgment.
The super provider identifies that two of the members have been reported incorrectly due to a technical system error.
The super provider lodges a partial adjustment template to request a cancellation of the two incorrectly reported members. The ATO cancels the lodgment for the two identified members and issues a refund to the super provider.End of example
Example 4: adjustment not required
The super provider identifies member Simon Kent as a member who has turned 65 years old. Despite reasonable attempts the super provider has not been able to contact the member.
The super provider reports and pays the member's account to the ATO in October 2022. In December 2022, Mr Kent contacts the super provider after receiving delayed mail that had been forwarded to a new address.
In this instance the amount was not reported in error and an adjustment is not required. The member was correctly identified as a lost member at the time the unclaimed money was reported and paid to the ATO.
The member should be directed to contact us. They may request a direct payment of unclaimed money (if eligible) or opt to rollover any ATO-held super to their chosen fund destination.End of example
For more information see Adjusting unclaimed superannuation
It's compulsory to report preservation information when a member’s account is transferred between super funds. However, once an account is paid to the ATO, the preservation character is no longer retained. In addition, when a rollover occurs from ATO-held money to a super fund, the benefit amount is all characterised as preserved.
You don't need to disclose to us if you haven't correctly reported the preservation amounts when you pay USM, as we don't consider that an error that requires remediation.
In some circumstances you may be required to make payments out of the super fund via cheque, for example when paying a departing Australia superannuation payment (DASP) online claim or a superannuation death benefit. In some instances, those cheques remain unpresented and go stale after a period of time.
The following example provides guidance on the actions you may take in this circumstance.
Example: when a cheque is unpresented
In June 2021, ABC fund identifies their member, Ira, as deceased. They undertake to pay a super death benefit to his nominated beneficiary, Ben. Ben is a non-dependant of Ira, so the fund is required to pay the amount as a lump sum and withhold the relevant rate of tax.
ABC fund determines that the lump sum has a taxed and an untaxed element
The fund prepares and lodges a pay as you go (PAYG) payment summary and remits the correct amount of tax to the ATO. The fund issues Ben with the PAYG payment summary along with the net amount as a cheque.
Ben doesn't present the cheque and, despite the fund making reasonable attempts to contact Ben, the cheque goes stale after a 12-month period. In August 2022, the fund cancels the cheque and assesses the amount as unclaimed money – deceased member. The fund determines that they have not received an amount in respect of Ira within the last two years. They are unable to ensure that the benefit is received by Ben so they pay the amount to the ATO as unclaimed money.
The fund reports and pays only the net amount as unclaimed money under the deceased TFN. This is the amount that is currently held by the fund in the name of the deceased member. They report the net unclaimed money amount as a tax-free component, as the appropriate tax has already been withheld and remitted to the ATO for the benefit.
Ben later claims the unclaimed money amount from the ATO. We pay it and any interest owing from ATO-held super without tax as it has been reported as unclaimed tax-free.End of example
For more information see Unclaimed superannuation money protocolHow to apply the unclaimed superannuation protocol and what to do in more complex situations.