Bill's Media Releases

Amount of lost and unclaimed super falls for the first time

The amount of lost and unclaimed super has fallen by $3.2 billion this year according to the latest Australian Taxation Office (ATO) annual report.

Around 1.1 million lost and unclaimed super accounts, worth $3.2 billion, were reunited with their rightful owners during the year.

This is the first time that the amount of lost super has declined, after reaching a peak of almost $21 billion as at 30 June 2011. There are still around 6.1 million lost and unclaimed accounts with a value of around $17.7 billion.

The success of ATO programs like SuperSeeker has reunited people with their lost super and returned more than $3 billion to workers’ superannuation balances.

Boosting the superannuation balances of Australian workers has been one of the Gillard Government’s highest priorities.

We have increased the super guarantee from 9 per cent to 12 per cent and abolished taxes on superannuation contributions for the nearly 1 in 3 workers who earn $37,000 or less.

The SuperStream reforms will also significantly lower processing costs by moving the industry from paper-based to electronic processing, estimated to save up to $1 billion per annum.

As part of the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook, the Government announced that it will help protect more small lost superannuation accounts from being eroded by fees and charges, by increasing the account balance threshold below which lost accounts are required to be transferred to the ATO from $200 to $2,000, where the account has been inactive for five years or the member is uncontactable.

The Government also announced a separate reform in relation to accounts where the member is ‘unidentifiable’.  These are accounts where the superannuation provider is satisfied that it will never be possible for the provider to pay an amount to the member (for example, they are missing both the member’s name and tax file number.)  Only for these accounts will amounts be transferred to the ATO after 12 months of inactivity rather than five years as is currently the case.  These amounts represent less than 0.1 per cent of superannuation.

People can reclaim superannuation accounts transferred to the ATO at any time.  In addition to the above reforms, the Government announced that it will pay interest at a rate equivalent to Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation from 1 July 2013 on all superannuation accounts reclaimed from the ATO.

For more information about reclaiming lost super, go to www.superseeker.super.ato.gov.au.