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I am an Australian Citizen currently living in the UK. I logged on to the Australian Tax Office (ATO) website today an the ATO tells me i have unclaimed super. It's about $3000, and is exactly equal to the amount of super I had in my fund when i left Australia. It was basically just contributions I made working as a teenager and during university, I have much more now in my UK pension fund.

As far as I can tell, this means my superannuation fund has closed my account and all the money is now being held by the tax office. I am not sure why, but I suspect it was because of one or more of:

  • I am not a resident in Australia,
  • They couldn't contact me
  • It was a small amount of money
  • I wasn't making contributions

So I think now the ATO has the money?

Do I need to do anything about it?, Can I do anything about it?

Will it continue to gain interest while the ATO has it? My superfund had actually been doing pretty well at it over the last few years, net 5-10% growth per year. (Incontrast to my old superfund, which made 0.1% then changed me fees that far exceeded that). I would rather not have it sitting there as inflation devalues it down to nothing.

I don't have any desire to try and remove money from my superfund, I am many decades away from retiring and assume i will probably move back to Australia before I do.

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According to the ATO website:
https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals/super/growing-your-super/keeping-track-of-your-super/ato-held-super/

They hold the money for you in a non-investment account for up to 10 years before they claim it as abandonded. It doesn't specify any interest, so it's likely that it doesn't accrue any. The interest rate is set to the inflation (consumer price index)

Generally the way to go with this is to transfer it into your primary fund. But for such a small amount, the fund you transfer it to would be required to send it back to the ATO because it's too small for them to handle under the new laws (July 2019)

I couldn't find any information about accessing the funds for citizens living overseas. It's worth giving the ATO a call to see what your options are.

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  • thanks. very helpful. Do you have a link to the souce for your second paragraph about "non-investment account" and about abandoned after 10 years? The page linked at the top says: > From 1 July 2013, interest will be payable on unclaimed super we hold. and I don't see anyting about abandonned – Lyndon White Oct 19 '20 at 11:28
  • Both are at the linked page under "Superannuation holding account (SHA) special account". While looking again I found the interest rate, which appears to be inflation. They call it "inactive" instead of abandoned: "If there has been no account activity for 10 years, it becomes an inactive account." – Fred Stark Oct 19 '20 at 11:36

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