Superannuation

ATO: A whopping $860 million in lost superannuation was claimed late last year

Matthew Elmas /

Giving the gift of finding lost superannuation? It sounds weird, but according to new figures released by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) today, Aussies went on a super finding blitz late last year.

In total, $860 million of unclaimed super was found by over 66,000 people between October and December 2018, the ATO has said.

The ATO has been trying to reduce Australia’s unclaimed super pile — which at the end of 2017-18 sat at $17.5 billion  for some time, revealing the worst offending areas in the country last October.

Now, amid all the discussion and media coverage about superannuation and the financial services sector more broadly, it appears Aussies are getting proactive.

At least that’s according to ATO assistant commissioner Graham Whyte, who managed to sneak a cheeky reference to Marie Kondo’s Netflix hit Tidying Up into his presser.

“Tidying up seems to be a hot topic at the moment, so before you spend too much time re-organising your sock drawer and kitchen cupboards this summer, take a few minutes to tidy up your superannuation. Seeing the extra money in your consolidated superannuation will definitely spark joy,” Whyte said.

There’s a broader conversation going on at the moment about the role employers can play in helping their workers understand superannuation and the best way to navigate it.

While employers aren’t legally required to do much beyond signing workers up for a default fund, the prevalence of lost super has raised questions about whether businesses should encourage employees to be consistent with which fund they nominate.

The unclaimed super pile has been shrinking in recent years though, declining by $420 million in 2017-18 after over $3 billion was consolidated.

That’s largely due to the ATO’s MyGov portal, which allows taxpayers to view all their super accounts in one place, including those lost or forgotten.

Whyte said NSW was leading the way in reducing its unclaimed super pile, but that makes sense because as of October last year NSW was also the worst offender.

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Matthew Elmas

Matthew is the news editor at SmartCompany. You can contact him at [email protected].