There are almost six million 'lost' superannuation accounts with a value of $11.7 billion, new Australian Taxation Office (ATO) figures show.
There are now 5.9 million 'lost or inactive' accounts totalling $11.65 billion for 2015-16, down from 13.9 million accounts in 2014-15.
Super is considered 'lost' when a fund is unable to contact the individual and hasn't received a contribution to an account for five years.
The ATO says members often lose contact with their super funds when they change jobs, move house, or forget to update their details.
In addition to these lost and inactive accounts held by super funds, the ATO also holds other unclaimed super money and superannuation holding accounts, which brings the total value to $14 billion.
As at June 30 this year, over 14.8 million Australians had a super fund account. About 43 per cent of these people have more than one super account, thereby likely paying extra fees and charges.
The ATO says that during 2015-16 $2.5 billion worth of super money was consolidated into active super accounts.
Its data shows the postcodes with the most lost super:
- In NSW residents of postcode 2170, covers Casula and surrounding suburbs, have the highest amount of lost super, with $37 million waiting to be claimed.
- In Victoria residents of postcode 3030, which covers Werribee and surrounding suburbs, have the highest amount of lost super, at $35 million.
- In Queensland, the 4740 postcode in Queensland, which covers Mackay and the surrounding suburbs, had the highest amount, at $49 million.
Since new laws were introduced that allow balances under $6000 to be automatically transferred to the ATO if the account has been inactive for 12 months, the agency now holds more information about Australians' lost balances.
Deputy Commissioner James O'Halloran said the ATO was working hard to help Australians track lost super. "A lot of people who worked casually while they were studying or worked multiple part-time jobs find super they had completely forgotten about," he said.
He said some people were unaware their "hard-earned super is unnecessarily being eroded away by fees".
"You might choose to keep multiple accounts, but to save on fees and charges consider consolidating your multiple super accounts online into the one you prefer," he said.
This article was originally published by the Sydney Morning Herald on 17 August 2016. It represents the views of the author only and does not necessarily reflect the views of AMP.
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While approximately 1.3 million Aussies run their own show, one in five has no superannuation at all.