Around $18 billion of super in limbo

The latest ATO figures have revealed the value of retirement savings considered lost or unclaimed is now close to $18 billion across 6.3 million accounts as at 30 June 2017.

According to the statistics, lost super – superannuation accounts held by super funds that have lost contact with members – totalled $14.12 billion, while unclaimed super – retirement savings accounts held by the ATO – amounted to $3.75 billion at the end of the most recent financial year.

Circumstances contributing to the situation include losing contact with a super fund when an individual has changed jobs, changed abode or has not kept their account details up to date.

In addition, the data shows 2.3 million Australians have three or more retirement savings accounts, although the tax office noted this number was trending downward.

“You might choose to keep multiple accounts, but if you consolidate your multiple super accounts into the one you prefer, you’ll avoid paying multiple sets of fees and charges,” ATO assistant commissioner Debbie Rawlings said.

“If you’re not sure whether to consolidate your accounts, check with your super fund, who can advise you on issues such as insurance that may be attached to your accounts.”

Rawlings advised the best way for people to find their lost or unclaimed super is via the ATO online services under the myGov website.

This facility has already helped reunite 1.68 million super accounts with members, worth $8.12 billion, with identified monies paid to individuals within three working days, she said.

“More people are finding their lost and unclaimed super through our online services every year, but these figures show there are many people who still may not realise how quickly and easily they can check their super accounts,” she said.

“Once you have linked your myGov account to ATO online services, you will be able to view all your super account details, including any that have been lost or forgotten, and you can choose to claim or transfer your super online.

“Alternatively you can call the ATO Super Helpline on 13 10 20 to request direct claim or transfer paper forms, or speak to your super fund.”

The exercise marks the first time the ATO is making information about unclaimed and lost super available to the public.

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