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Lost and unclaimed super reaches $16 billion, ATO says

Australians are being urged to double-check their tax accounts to ensure their money isn't in a growing, $16 billion pot of lost or unclaimed superannuation.

The Australian Taxation Office says lost or unclaimed super funds have risen by $2.1 billion since last financial year, taking the total to $16 billion.

Lost super is money held by funds when a member is uncontactable or inactive. Unclaimed super is money sent to the ATO from inactive low-balance accounts for people 65 years or older, or temporary residents who have left Australia for six months or more and their visa has expired or been cancelled.

Deputy Commissioner Emma Rosenzweig said people can find lost or unclaimed super in a matter of minutes by checking their myGov accounts.

"Super is one of the most important investments many Australians will have during their lifetime, which is why we want to reunite hardworking Australians with what is rightfully theirs. When it comes to protecting your financial future, every bit counts," she said in a statement on Monday.

"People often lose contact with their super funds when they change jobs, move house, or simply forget to update their details."

Almost one in four Australians hold two or more super accounts, she said, which contributes to people forgetting about or losing their super.

Ms Rosenzweig said people unknowingly or intentionally holding multiple accounts could also be losing hundreds of dollars a year in fees and that people should remain engaged with their super funds throughout their lives, rather than only when they are ready to retire.

"While we're doing all we can to get this money back where it belongs, we rely on people keeping their contact information up-to-date," the deputy commissioner said.

"The best thing you can do to ensure you're getting what you're entitled to is checking that your current contact information and bank account details are correct."

Superannuation funds currently hold $10.4 billion in lost super while the ATO holds about $5.6 billion, which is a 40 per cent increase since 2019.

Ms Rosenzweig said all lost accounts with balances of $6000 or less are transferred to the ATO, which has consolidated almost 4.7 million accounts totalling $7.1 billion.