Tracking down lost super is easier than you might think.
What is lost super?
If you’ve ever changed jobs, moved house, or changed your name, there’s a good chance you may not have kept tabs on all your super.
Your super account will generally be considered ‘lost’ if:
- No contributions or rollovers have been added to your super account in the last year and either your super fund never had an address for you, or mail sent to you by your super fund has been returned unclaimed, or
- For employer-default super plans, no contributions or rollovers have been added to your super account in the last five years.
Under some circumstances the balance in your ‘lost’ super could be transferred from your super fund to the ATO, for example, where:
- Your account balance is less than $2,000, or
- Your super fund is unable to identify you as the owner of the account based on the information they have available to them.
The ATO could also be holding other super amounts for you such as super guarantee amounts paid to them by a previous employer, or super co-contributions or low income super contributions paid by the Government.
How can you find your 'lost' super?
- You can use the ATO myGov service - you'll need your tax file number to get started
- Let Westpac help - drop into your local branch and we can help you complete a lost super search for free.
What should you do once you've found any 'lost' super?
It’s worth considering whether it may be appropriate to combine all your super into one account. It could be much easier to keep track of, you’ll also only be paying one set of fees and charges. This could make a big difference to your super balance over the long run. Before consolidating your super, you should check with the other fund(s) to determine whether there are any exit fees for moving your benefit, or other loss of benefits such as insurance cover.
Consolidating your superannuation
If you have multiple superannuation funds, consolidating them into the one super fund may be an extremely valuable exercise.
As well as reducing your paperwork and administrative hassle, it means you can potentially reduce the fees paid for having multiple accounts. You may also be able to more accurately track and manage the performance of your long-term investment.
While many Australians put off the consolidation process believing it to be too challenging or time consuming, it’s actually quite straightforward.
Below we set out how to go about consolidating your superannuation.
Find all your super
Before you can start consolidating, you need to know where all your superannuation is currently held.
Your most recent member statement for each of your super funds will provide information about your super balance and any insurance cover provided in the fund, such a total and permanent disablement cover.
If you’ve changed jobs throughout your career or moved house or changed your name, you may have super that you’ve forgotten about.
You can use the ATO myGov service - you’ll need your tax file number to get started.
Consolidate your super
Before consolidating, you should check whether there would be any exit fees for moving each of your balances, or other loss of benefits such as loss of insurance cover.
Once you’ve identified all your super accounts and decided which super accounts to close and which to retain, you can start combining your super.
To do this, complete the ATO’s Rollover initiation request to transfer whole balance of superannuation benefits between funds form for each account you wish to close and forward it to your chosen fund (whether this is an existing or new fund). By sending the form to your chosen fund, that fund should be able to assist you in the rollover process.
Have super guarantee contributions from your employer directed to your chosen fund
Most employees have had the right to choose the super fund to which their employer’s superannuation guarantee contributions are paid.
Your employer will let you know if you are eligible to choose a super fund. If you are, you may want to complete a Standard Choice Form and submit this to your employer to advise them of your chosen super fund.
Monitor your fund
Once you have consolidated your super into your chosen fund, it’s wise to check your next member statement to ensure that the balances of the accounts you closed have been transferred in. Your member statement will also show any super guarantee contributions from your employer paid into your super account.
It’s also smart to monitor your super on an ongoing basis to ensure it continues to meet your needs and is delivering the performance results you expect.
If you’re unsure, take this quick Super Check Up.
Things you should know
This is general information only and does not constitute any recommendation or personal advice. It has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. It is current as at 31 March 2015, and is subject to change.
The taxation position described is a general statement and should only be used as a guide. It does not constitute tax advice and is based on current tax laws and our interpretation. It has not been prepared by a registered tax agent. You should seek independent professional tax advice from a registered tax agent about any liabilities, obligations or claim entitlements that arise, or could arise, under a taxation law.
Superannuation is a long-term investment. The Government has placed restrictions on when you can access your preserved benefits. The Government has set caps on the amount of money you can add to superannuation each year on a concessionally taxed basis. In addition, the Government has set a non-concessional contributions cap. For more detail, speak with a financial adviser or visit the ATO website.
There is no charge for accepting any rollovers, however before requesting the rollover, you should check with your other fund(s) to determine whether there are any exit fees for moving your benefit, or other loss of benefits (e.g. insurance cover). There may be limited circumstances where your employer is not required to accept your Choice of Superannuation fund form e.g. if you have already exercised Super Choice in the last 12 months.
This information may contain material provided by third parties and is given in good faith and has been derived from sources believed to be accurate at its issue date. Information that has been provided by third parties has not been independently verified and the Westpac Group is not in any way responsible for such information.
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