Superannuation funds are pleading with policy holders to get in touch with them and update their information.

Hundreds of thousands of investors could lose up to $480 million as the Australian Tax Office raises the lost superannuation threshold from $2000 to $4000 (retrospective to 31 December).

Previously the ATO could only take over unclaimed funds with a balance of less than $2001. But the huge pool of idle savings, most of which average around $2400 is now in the government’s sights.

Industry experts believe up to 200,000 accounts will be rolled into the government coffers.

Funds are lost if they have not received a contribution or rollover from the member within the past five years.

Tom Garcia, CEO of the Australian Institute of Superannuation’ Trustees, labelled the move by the ATO as little more than ‘mopping up’ idle retirement accounts.

“We have got nearly 30 million superannuation accounts for around 12 million working Australians, so there are too many accounts.

“You can get the money back (from the ATO) but you do lose any insurance and your money is not invested in the market.”

But the ATO said that the funds could be claimed easily and at any time.

“Individuals are able to claim back their superannuation at any time,” said a spokesperson.

“Fees are not charged on these accounts while with the ATO.”

This might seem like a bonus when compared with the outrageous fees charged by superannuation funds. But the ATO is quick to admit the interest they offer is 1.5 per cent (around the inflation rate).

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