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Lost members and wound up superannuation funds

Reporting lost members of superannuation funds
All superannuation providers - including superannuation funds, eligible rollover funds, retirement savings accounts and approved deposit funds - must report lost members to the Australian Tax Office (ATO). The ATO keeps a list of people who have been reported as lost on their Lost Members Register.
A lost member is a member of a super fund who:
  • is an inactive member - they are inactive if they joined, as a standard employer-sponsored member, more than two years ago, and there have been no contributions or rollover amounts in the last five years
  • transferred from another super provider as a lost member and you haven't found or been advised of a new address, or
  • cannot be contacted - you may not have been advised of your member's address or mail sent to your member's last known address has been returned unclaimed. If one piece of mail is returned to you unclaimed by the member, you may choose to report the member as lost. However if you receive two pieces of mail unclaimed by the member you are required to report the member as lost.
  • The fund or the member has confirmed the member's current address within the past 2 years or the member is permanently excluded from becoming a lost member.
A member can be permanently excluded from becoming a lost member if they:
  • are an inactive member of the fund, but indicate by a positive act, for example, deferring a benefit, that they wish to remain a member
  • contact you and indicate that they want to remain a member, or
  • are a member of an SMSF.
Do funds need to report 'found', 'transferred' and 'deleted' members?
Yes. You must report details of 'found' members - that is, members previously reported as lost who have since been located.
You must also report 'transferred' members - that is, previously reported lost members whose account was transferred out of the fund to an eligible rollover fund or to another fund via a successor fund transfer, or transferred to the State Government or ATO.
You must also report 'deleted' members - that is, members previously reported as lost who should not have been reported as they were not lost.
You must also report if you have no lost members or no changes to the status of previously reported members that is, funds must provide a non lodgement report in this circumstance.
How do funds report a lost member?
You must provide a lost member report in an approved electronic format. Use the same format to report found, transferred and deleted members. For more detailed information on reporting, see Lost members register - for superannuation providers.
What are the responsibilities of a fund's trustee?
If you are transferring a lost member to another superannuation fund for any reason, such as when your fund is winding-up, you should ensure that the following process is followed:
  • The fund that is winding-up should advise the new fund that the transferred member is a lost member.
  • The new fund should report to the ATO that the transferred member is a lost member that the transferred member is a lost member.
  • The fund that is winding-up should report to the ATO that they've transferred the lost member's superannuation benefit from the fund.
  • The ATO will update the LMR when it receives the new information.
How can a member search for lost superannuation when a fund has wound-up?
Where a fund ceases to operate or goes through a merger, the superannuation accounts are transferred to the new successor fund. Whilst funds have an obligation to notify their members in these situations, individuals sometimes lose track of these documents and cannot recall the details of the new fund that now holds their superannuation benefits.
Since 2013, all superannuation funds have been requried to report details of all of their accounts to the ATO on an annual basis.  This reporting includes accounts that are open, active, inactive, lost, in pension phase, as well as those closed to contributions or rollovers.
The ATO then displays all superannuation accounts reported for the previous two years by superannuation funds that are matched to a Tax File Number on the myGov ATO individual superannuation portal. 
Any accounts that have been transferred to other funds will therefore be reported and displayed on this portal.  Equally, if the superannuation accounts have been transferred to the ATO as 'Unclaimed Superannuation Money', these accounts are also displayed on this service, along with any other fund accounts, or superannuation that may be held by the ATO on behalf of the individual.
The ATO has some other ways for an individual to check and manage their super - refer to Check my Super  on the ATO website.
Individuals may also be able to contact their former employer(s) for details of the superannuation fund(s) into which their superannuation was paid.