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Providing and using TFNs in the super system

Find out about how member tax file numbers can be used to search for member accounts, link contributions and rollovers.

Last updated 29 June 2023

Using TFNs for faster transactions

For faster transactions in the super system, use TFNs:

  • as a primary locator to link contributions and rollovers with member accounts
  • to search for accounts that your members hold.

Validating your member's TFN details

The SuperTICK service and Member Account Attribute Service (MAAS) validate your member's TFN information, you must provide the following member details:

  • name
  • address (optional)
  • date of birth.

If the TFN provided by you is incorrect, however we can determine the correct one, we will provide this to you.

An unmatched response doesn't mean the TFN is incorrect, only that our records don't match the details provided. Due to the nature of our matching processes, we're unable to advise which elements of the data provided can't be matched.

Subregulation 6.33D(3)External Link of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Regulations 1994 states that if the Commissioner has previously provided a notice under subsection 299TD(2) of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (SISA), there is no requirement to validate that TFN again.

For more information, see SuperTICK user guide.

Providing your members' corrected TFN

We may provide you with a corrected TFN for your member when:

  • the TFN you reported through MAAS or SuperTICK is incorrect but we can determine the correct one
  • no TFN was reported but we can match one to your client's quoted TFN from a previous super transaction.

You should treat any TFN provided under sections 299TA or 299TC of the SISA, as though it has been quoted by the member and update your records accordingly. If a member has specifically requested for the trustee to not record their TFN prior to the trustee receiving a notice under section 299TC, the notice can be disregarded.

Using your member's TFN

If you have a member’s TFN, you can use it:

  • as a primary locator to search for their accounts within your fund
  • to match contributions or rollover requests to their account
  • to identify where the member may have multiple accounts within your fund and consider whether consolidation is beneficial to your member – you can do this without requiring the explicit consent of your member.

However, the regulations include rules you must follow when using a member's TFN to search for their accounts in another fund or using our SuperMatch service. You must have their consent to do this.

For more information, see MAAS Business Implementation Guide (docx, 708KB) This link will download a file.

Consent to use your members' TFN

You can obtain consent from your member to search for other super accounts belonging to them in a variety of ways, including:

  • in writing
  • over the phone – if their identity has been confirmed through your proof-of-identity procedures
  • through an online form or portal (if the member has logged into their member account through a secure online website or portal)
  • through a recorded instruction or interactive voice response function within a call centre.

Whatever method you use to obtain member consent, it's important the member gives explicit consent. Obtaining general consent – for example, in a product disclosure statement – won't be sufficient unless a prior agreement with us was reached.

When you get consent from your member, we recommend you provide clear guidance so they understand what they are consenting to. You must have the member's consent to:

  • use their TFN to search SuperMatch
  • contact a particular fund your member may hold, about their super on their behalf.

Duration of member consent

No guidance is given by law or regulations on how long a member’s consent to use their TFN will last. We recommend informing your members of the duration of their consent according to your fund rules at the time they provide it. You should advise them how to withdraw their consent in the future, should they choose to do so.

Consent to search SuperMatch and to rollover

If your member gives you permission to use their TFN to search SuperMatch for accounts belonging to them, you cannot use this consent to consolidate any accounts you find for them.

The legal requirements, including proof of identity requirements, apply to rollovers and to the consolidation of any accounts located through a SuperMatch search.

A condition of using the SuperMatch service is that you inform each member you are conducting a search for and advise them of the results. When informing your member about accounts you've found, you may want to provide them with their consolidating options.

There is nothing to prevent you from seeking a single consent from your member that permits the search of SuperMatch and request for the payment of any ATO-held amounts found. You must take care to ensure it's clear to your member that their consent covers both activities.

You can request payment of ATO-held super amounts we hold for your member in your SuperMatch search, if you have your member's consent do so.

The consent you need from your member

If you want to search for member accounts within your fund

No specific consent is required. Use the TFN as the primary locator to search for accounts within your fund.

If you want to search using SuperMatch

You need your member’s explicit consent prior to using their TFN to search SuperMatch.

A separate consent must be obtained to request payment of any ATO-held super for your member.

Both these can be captured together but must be clearly differentiated.

You must tell your member what you have found within 28 days of receiving the SuperMatch report.

General consent included in a product disclosure statement will not be sufficient unless a prior agreement with us was reached.

Your member may use ATO online services to search for their own super holdings at any time.

If you need to request a rollover

If your member requests you to initiate a rollover from another fund to the account they hold with you, you will need the member's consent to use their TFN to contact the other fund.

If you need to consolidate accounts between funds

You need to ask your member for consent to consolidate their accounts.

Your member may use ATO online services to consolidate their own accounts at any time.

If you need to seek information about member accounts from any fund

You cannot ask your member for consent to do this. You may only ask for consent to seek account information held by a specific super provider or by providers identified to you by SuperMatch.

Misusing your member’s TFN

Misuse of member TFNs is serious and can attract penalties, including monetary fines and imprisonment.

If a member thinks their TFN has been mishandled, they can make a complaint to the Australian Information Commissioner.