In the labyrinth of finance and retirement planning, superannuation stands as a beacon of financial security for many Australians. It’s the nest egg we diligently contribute to throughout our working lives, hoping it will sustain us in retirement.

However, what happens when these contributions fall through the cracks or accounts are left dormant and forgotten? 

Enter ATO-held super, a safety net provided by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to safeguard unclaimed or inactive super funds. Let’s delve into what ATO-held super entails and why keeping track of your superannuation is essential.

What Is Ato-Held Super?

ATO-held super refers to superannuation money that has been transferred to the Australian Taxation Office due to various reasons, primarily when the super fund is unable to match the member’s account to an individual. 

This situation often arises when members change jobs, addresses, or names, and their super fund loses contact with them. It can also occur when a super account has been inactive for a certain period, usually five years or more, and the fund cannot reach the member.

Why Does Super End Up With The Ato?

Several scenarios can lead to superannuation ending up with the ATO:

  1. Lost Contact: If your super fund cannot reach you, perhaps due to a change in address or contact details, they may transfer your super to the ATO.
  2. Inactive Accounts: If you haven’t made any contributions or rollovers into your super account for five consecutive financial years and your balance is below a certain threshold, your super fund may report it as inactive, leading to the transfer of funds to the ATO.
  3. Unclaimed Super: Super funds are required to report and transfer unclaimed super money to the ATO annually. This typically includes super belonging to members who cannot be contacted, have not made a contribution for at least a year, or whose account balances are insufficient to meet the fund’s minimum balance requirements.

How Can You Reclaim Your Ato-Held Super?

The good news is that reclaiming your ATO-held super is relatively straightforward. The ATO provides several avenues for individuals to reclaim their lost or unclaimed super:

  1. Online Services: Use the ATO’s online services via myGov to view and consolidate your super accounts, including any ATO-held super.
  2. Contact Your Super Fund: If you believe your super has been transferred to the ATO, contact your super fund to confirm the details and initiate the reclaiming process.
  3. ATO Assistance: Reach out to the ATO directly to reclaim your ATO-held super. They can provide guidance and support throughout the process.

Why Is It Essential To Keep Track Of Your Super?

Keeping track of your superannuation is vital for several reasons:

  1. Maximising Retirement Savings: By consolidating multiple super accounts and reclaiming any lost or unclaimed super, you can maximize your retirement savings and ensure that your hard-earned money works for you.
  2. Avoiding Fees And Charges: Inactive or forgotten super accounts may incur unnecessary fees and charges, eating into your retirement savings over time. By keeping track of your super, you can minimize these expenses.
  3. Maintaining Control: Taking an active interest in your superannuation allows you greater control over your financial future. You can make informed decisions about investment options, insurance coverage, and retirement planning.

ATO-held super serves as a safety net for unclaimed or inactive super funds, ensuring that individuals do not lose track of their retirement savings. However, it’s essential to proactively manage your superannuation to avoid it ending up with the ATO in the first place. By keeping track of your super, consolidating multiple accounts, and staying informed about your retirement savings, you can take control of your financial future and enjoy a comfortable retirement. Remember, your super is your future – don’t let it slip away unnoticed.

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