Words by Russell Lees
I have been asked to provide periodic articles on personal finance as an opportunity to improve members financial knowledge. This is my first article on keeping track of your superannuation.
Knowing how much you have in your super account and whether or not your employer has been making regular contributions on your behalf are important pieces of information when it comes to managing your financial affairs.
Keeping track of your super used to be a tricky task involving lots of phone calls and paperwork. But upgrades to the ATO’s online service and the government’s myGov portal mean it’s now just a few clicks or keystrokes away.
So, what super information is available from myGov and where can you find it?
Where can I find more information about my super?
Although most people only think about the ATO in relation to tax, the tax regulator also plays a big role in the super system.
Since the government extended its online Single Touch Payroll (STP) reporting system to all businesses, your employer is now required to send lots of tax and super information to the ATO directly from its payroll software each time it pays you.
This allows the ATO to keep tabs on employer super contributions and super funds, so checking the information it holds can be an easy way to track and learn more about your super.
How to manage your super online with the ATO and myGov
To find and manage your super using the ATO’s online services you need to go through the myGov portal:
• Log in (or create) a myGov account
• Link your myGov account to the ATO
• Select the ‘super’ tab and choose from the dropdown menu.
You can then find details of your super accounts, check your super information and consolidate your super accounts if you want.
Gov: What super-related information is available?
1. See your super accounts
Using myGov, you can view all super accounts reported to the ATO for you by a super fund, retirement savings account (RSA) or SMSF. These include:
- Open accounts – flagged with a ‘yes’ indicator if they have received a super contribution in the past six months
- Closed accounts – accounts closed on or after 1 July 2018
- Inactive accounts – accounts with no contributions in the past six months or more
- Lost accounts – these are considered ‘lost’ because the super fund is not able to contact you
- Pension accounts
- Any ATO-held super.
Details of a newly opened super account should be available soon after it opens, provided the super fund has reported it to the ATO.
Need to know your account balance
The super account balances displayed for you will reflect the most recent reported information provided by your super fund. Super funds do not report in ‘real time’, however, so this may not be your current super balance.
To find your current super balance, you will need to check with your super fund.
Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSFs) are not required to provide their super information as regularly as large industry or retail super funds, so their contributions – and your account balance – won’t necessarily be up-to-date. You may need to check with your SMSF trustee for your current account balance.
Defined benefit funds and some public sector superannuation schemes report differently, and members of these funds will only be able to see information from the latest annual reporting date.
Your SMSF account information will not be displayed if the SMSF:
- Is not a registered or complying super fund
- Has an outstanding SMSF annual return (SAR)
- Has not reported (or incorrectly reported) its Australian Business Number
- Has not correctly added your membership through the Australian Business Register.
2. Check your employer’s SG contributions
Employers regularly report to the ATO information about their reportable employer super contributions. These include Superannuation Guarantee (SG), salary sacrifice amounts, voluntary employer contributions and award contributions.
By combining this with data it receives from super funds, the ATO can now better identify if your employer is complying with its SG contribution obligations. It also lets you to see the amounts your employer has contributed to your super.
Go to the Super tab, select information from the dropdown menu and click on Employer contributions.
Good to know
In limited circumstances you may be able to use the myGov/ATO online service to apply for early access to some of your super on compassionate grounds. Generally, online applications can only be made for early access if you have a terminal medical condition.
Go to the Super tab then select Manage from the dropdown menu and click on Compassionate release.
3. Check for ATO-held super
If the government, your super fund or your employer can’t find an account to transfer your super to, the ATO holds the money on your behalf until you claim it.
ATO-held super includes lost member accounts; inactive low-balance accounts; unclaimed super for members aged 65 years or older, non-member spouses and deceased members; and super for temporary residents who have left Australia for six months or more.
Good to know
Under rules starting 1 July 2019, super funds must pay inactive low-balance super accounts to the ATO. However, the ATO will also consolidate these accounts into your active super account if it’s possible, so you don’t lose touch with your money.
4. Check if you have your insurance cover
Using the ATO online service with myGov, you can view details of whether or not you have insurance cover as part of your super. Any super account with insurance included will be flagged with a ‘yes’ indicator.
If you want to know more about how much insurance protection (death, total and permanent disability, and income protection) you have and the details of your insurance policies, you should contact your super fund.
5. Find lost super
It’s easy to lose track of your super if you have switched jobs, moved house or lived overseas for a period.
If you have unintentionally lost track of some super, you can now check where your super is – or any super accounts you may have forgotten about – using the ATO’s online services through myGov.
6. Combine multiple super accounts
Tools on the myGov portal allow you to easily transfer (or rollover) money you have in multiple super accounts (or any ATO-held super) into a single super account of your choice.
You can only transfer the full balance from one super account to another super fund using the online service. Partial balance transfers cannot be done online with myGov and you will need to contact the super fund directly.
Before consolidating your super accounts, always check with your fund to see if there are any exit fees, or if you could lose any valuable insurance cover. Some funds offer members insurance cover that can be difficult – and expensive – to obtain elsewhere.
7. View your total super balance (TSB)
With myGov you can see your TSB at 30 June of the previous year and view your transfer balance cap details.
The ATO online service also allows you to make any elections associated with your transfer balance cap (such as commuting an excess transfer balance cap amount).
8. Pay your Division 293 bill
You can also view, pay or elect to release money from your super account to pay for any super-related tax liabilities. These include a Division 293 tax bill and tax on excess concessional and non-concessional super contributions (applicable when your wages and contributions exceed $250,000).
9. Check bring-forward arrangements
With myGov you can now see how much of your three-year bring-forward contribution cap balance remains if you have been making non-concessional (after-tax) contributions above the annual contributions limits.
10. Check unused carry-forward amounts
You can also check if you have any unused concessional contributions cap amounts available to carry forward this financial year.
Concessional contributions include employer Super Guarantee payments, salary-sacrifice arrangement and any personal contributions you make that you claim a tax deduction for. The annual cap for these contributions is currently $27,500 a year.
Select the Super tab, click on information from the dropdown menu then Carry forward concessional contributions. You will find your total concessional contributions cap for the financial years since the carry forward rule was introduced, your total concessional contributions during that period and the total amount of unused concessional contributions cap available to you.
This can be a useful way to increase your concessional contributions this financial year above the usual annual cap and receive a tax deduction for your efforts.
11. Apply for the First Home Super Saver (FHSS) scheme
If you are eligible, you will be able to apply for the FHSS scheme and get information about your account and application through myGov. You can also apply to the ATO for a FHSS determination and to withdraw your voluntary super contributions from the scheme.
Select the Super tab, click on Manage from the dropdown menu then First Home Saver.
12. Use the YourSuper comparison tool
The ATO’s new YourSuper comparison tool also makes it easier to compare MySuper products and choose a super fund that meets your needs. It provides a table of MySuper products ranked by fees and investment returns and shows your current super accounts, with a prompt to consolidate your accounts if you have more than one.
By accessing the personalised version of this tool through ATO online services, you can view and compare your existing MySuper products alongside MySuper products from other super funds.
If anyone has any questions in regard to the above, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org