Is there lost super in your area? Compare the top ten postcodes

Is there lost super in your area? Compare the top ten postcodes

Australians are putting in the hard yards to reclaim their lost superannuation, but there are still billions of dollars waiting to be claimed.

According to the Australian Tax Office (ATO), the total amount of lost super in Australia was reduced by $420 million over 2017-2018, however $17.5 billion is still out there, spread across more than 6.2 million accounts.

ATO assistant commissioner, Graham Whyte, said that over the past financial year over 530,000 active, lost and unclaimed super accounts worth almost $3.2 billion were consolidated using myGov, though there are still plenty of inactive and lost super accounts out there:

“For example, one New South Wales account has over $2.2 million waiting to be found.”

“We know that more than a third of Australians still hold two or more super accounts. While some people intentionally maintain multiple accounts, a lot of people are unaware of this, and that their super is possibly being eroded by fees.”

Top ten postcodes with the highest amount of lost and unclaimed super

Compared with last year, Mackay remained the Australian area with the most lost super. New areas included the top ten this year included Sydney and Hoppers Crossing, while Bondi and Cranbourne left the top ten. 

Postcode State Total number of accounts Total value Rank change since last year

4740– Mackay and surrounds

QLD 12,140 $60,172,250 No change

2170 – Liverpool and surrounds

NSW 13,236 $59,192,322 +1

4870 – Cairns and surrounds

QLD 15,450 $57,463,430 -1

3030 – Werribee and surrounds

VIC 10,457 $56,665,113 +1

4350 – Toowoomba and Surrounds

QLD 13,425 $53,259,353 -1

2560 – Campbelltown and surrounds

NSW 11,310 $50,193,212 No change

2010 – Surry Hills and Darlinghurst

NSW 7646 $45,659,021 +1

2000 – Sydney CBD

NSW 6520 $44,048,306 New entry

6210 – Mandurah and surrounds

WA 10,983 $43,997,603 -2

3029 – Hoppers Crossing and Surrounds

VIC 9296 $43,761,841 New entry

Source: ATO

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Learn more about superannuation

How do I combine several superannuation accounts into one account?

The process used to consolidate several superannuation accounts into one is the same process used to change superannuation funds. This can be done through your MyGov account or by filling out a rollover form and sending it to your chosen fund.

How do you find lost superannuation funds?

Lost superannuation refers to savings in an account that you’ve forgotten about. This can happen if you’ve opened several different accounts over the years while moving from job to job.

You can use your MyGov account to see details of all your superannuation accounts, including any you might have forgotten. Alternatively, you can fill in a ‘Searching for lost super’ form and send it to the Australian Taxation Office, which will then search on your behalf.

How long after divorce can you claim superannuation?

You or your partner could be forced to surrender part of your superannuation if you divorce, just like with other assets.

You can file a claim for division of property – including superannuation – as soon as you divorce. However, the claim has to be filed within one year of the divorce.

Your superannuation could be affected even if you’re in a de facto relationship – that is, living together as a couple without being officially married.

In that case, the claim has to be filed within two years of the date of separation.

Either way, the first thing to consider is whether you’re a member of a standard, APRA-regulated superannuation fund or if you’re a member of a self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF), because different rules apply.

Standard superannuation funds

If your relationship breaks down, your superannuation savings might be divided by court order or by agreement.

The rules of the superannuation fund will dictate whether this transfer happens immediately, or in the future when the person who has to make the transfer is allowed to access the rest of their superannuation (i.e. at or near retirement).

Click here for more information.

SMSFs

If your relationship breaks down, you must continue to observe the trust deed of your SMSF.

So if you and your partner are both members of the same SMSF, neither party is allowed to use the fund to inflict ‘punishment’ – such as by excluding the other party from the decision-making process or refusing their request to roll their money into another superannuation fund.

This no-punishment rule applies even if the two parties are involved in legal proceedings.

Click here for more information.

Financial consequences

Superannuation funds often charge a fee for splitting accounts after a relationship breakdown.

Splitting superannuation can also impact the size of your total super balance and how your super is taxed.

Click here for more information.

How does superannuation work?

Superannuation is paid by employers to employees, at least once every three months. The ‘superannuation guarantee’ is currently 9.5 per cent – which means that your employer must pay you superannuation equivalent to 9.5 per cent of your salary. The guarantee is scheduled to rise to 10.0 per cent in 2021-22, 10.5 per cent in 2022-23, 11.0 per cent in 2023-24, 11.5 per cent in 2024-25 and 12.0 per cent in 2025-26.

Superannuation is generally taxed at 15 per cent. However, if you earn less than $37,000, you will be automatically reimbursed up to $500 of the tax you paid. Also, if your income plus concessional superannuation contributions exceed $250,000, you will also be charged Division 293 tax. This is an extra 15 per cent tax on your concessional contributions or the amount above $250,000 – whichever is lesser.

You can withdraw your superannuation when you meet the ‘conditions of release’. The conditions of release say you can claim your super when you reach:

  • Age 65
  • Your ‘preservation age’ and retire
  • Your preservation age and begin a ‘transition to retirement’ while still working

 

What should I know before getting an SMSF?

Four questions to ask yourself before taking out an SMSF include:

  1. Do I have enough superannuation to justify the higher set-up and running costs?
  2. Am I able to handle complicated compliance obligations?
  3. Am I willing to spend lots of time researching investment options?
  4. Do I have the skill to make big financial decisions?

It’s also worth remembering that ordinary superannuation funds usually offer discounted life insurance and disability insurance. These discounts would no longer be available if you decided to manage your own super.

How do you open a superannuation account?

Opening a superannuation account is simple. When you start a job, your employer will give you what’s called a ‘superannuation standard choice form’. Here’s what you need to complete the form:

  • The name of your preferred superannuation fund
  • The fund’s address
  • The fund’s Australian business number (ABN)
  • The fund’s superannuation product identification number (SPIN)
  • The fund’s phone number
  • A letter from the fund trustee confirming that the fund is a complying fund; or written evidence from the fund stating it will accept contributions from your new employer; or details about how your employer can make contributions to the fund

You might want to provide your tax file number as well – while it’s not a legal obligation, it will ensure your contributions will be taxed at the (lower) superannuation rate.

What age can I withdraw my superannuation?

You can withdraw your superannuation (or at least some of it) when you reach ‘preservation age’. The preservation age is based on date of birth. Here are the six different categories:

Date of birth Preservation age
Before 1 July 1960 55
1 July 1960 – 30 June 1961 56
1 July 1961 – 30 June 1962 57
1 July 1962 – 30 June 1963 58
1 July 1963 – 30 June 1964 59
From 1 July 1964 60

When you reach preservation age, you can withdraw all your superannuation if you’re retired. If you’re still working, you can begin a ‘transition to retirement’, which allows you to withdraw 10 per cent of their superannuation each financial year.

You can also withdraw all your superannuation once you reach 65 years.

What will the superannuation fund do with my money?

Your money will be invested in an investment option of your choosing.

Is superannuation paid on unused annual leave?

If your employment is terminated, superannuation will not be paid on unused annual leave.

What are the age pension's age rules?

Australians must be aged at least 65 years and 6 months to access the age pension. This eligibility age is scheduled to increase according to the following schedule:

Date Eligibility age
1 July 2019 66 years
1 July 2021 66 years and 6 months
1 July 2023 67 years

What are ethical investment superannuation funds?

Ethical investment funds limit themselves to making ‘ethical’ investments (which each fund defines according to its own principles). For example, ethical funds might avoid investing in companies or industries that are linked to human suffering or environmental damage.

Am I entitled to superannuation if I'm not an Australian citizen?

Yes, permanent and temporary residents are entitled to superannuation.

What is superannuation?

Superannuation is money set aside for your retirement. This money is automatically paid into your superannuation fund by your employer.

What is salary sacrificing?

A salary sacrifice is where your employer takes part of your pre-tax salary and pays it directly into your superannuation account. Salary sacrifices come out of your pre-tax income, whereas personal contributions come out of your after-tax income.