Superannuation and your tax file number

Info for members
30 Jul 2021
4 min read

When you join a superannuation fund, or your employer does on your behalf, you’re asked to provide your Tax File Number (TFN).

Employers and super funds request your TFN so they can easily link your contributions, locate accounts you’ve held with other funds, and complete rollovers from other accounts.

Having your TFN on file also ensures you don’t pay more tax than you need to and determines your eligibility to receive the government super co-contribution.

Why do you need a Tax File Number?

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) provides you with a nine-digit number that identifies you for tax and superannuation purposes. Your TFN remains the same throughout your life, regardless of changes to your employment, your name or address.

If you don’t already have a TFN, you can apply for one on the ATO website.

If you don’t recall your TFN, you can find it by:

  • logging into your my.gov.au account
  • looking at your income tax return
  • looking at your payment summaries from your employer.

Is it compulsory to provide your TFN to your super fund?

It’s not compulsory, but there are drawbacks if you don’t.

If you don’t supply your TFN:

  • Your super contributions won’t attract concessional tax rates, and you may pay significantly more in tax.
  • You can’t make personal after-tax contributions to your fund. (If you do, your super fund is obliged to return the funds to you within 30 days.)
  • Your UniSuper account can’t receive the government’s super co-contribution scheme, (if you’re eligible for it).

You will need to provide us your TFN to open a Personal Account.

Is it safe to provide your Tax File Number to your super fund?

To prevent identity theft, it’s important to keep your TFN secure.

How your super fund uses your TFN is subject to privacy laws. For instance UniSuper may share your TFN to other super funds if you transfer your super, unless you tell us in writing that you don’t want it passed on.

Can you claim an exemption from providing your Tax File Number?

Some pensioners, or children under the age of 16, may apply for an exemption to quoting a TFN. See more here.

Can you find lost super with your Tax File Number?

Yes, you can view super accounts linked to your TFN on the ATO website.

You need to set up a myGov account (my.gov.au) and link your myGov account to the ATO. This ATO video gives you a simple run down of how to do it.

Once in your account, select Check Super. You can then view any super accounts connected to your TFN in the Fund Details page.

Can your current super fund find your lost super?

Yes. You can ask your preferred super fund to track down lost super and ask them to combine your super with that from previous funds.

If your details are up-to-date with the ATO, it may be easier to request a rollover through the ATO on the my.gov.au website, as the ATO should have records of your accounts.

Is there anything you should consider before you combine your super?

Whilst consolidating your super into one fund should save on fees and make managing your super easier, you may want to check the following before you proceed:

  1. Does your employer contribute more to their chosen super fund than they would to your requested fund? If they do, you may wish to stay with theirs.
  2. Will you still be covered for the insurance you need if you change super funds?

Some super funds offer different levels and types of insurance so it’s worth investigating this before you move your super. Also, if you’re over a certain age or have a pre-existing medical condition, you may lose existing cover if you change super funds.

For more information on rolling over your super, see the Consolidating my super page on moneysmart.gov.au.

In summary…

Your super fund uses your TFN to manage your super contributions correctly. Though it’s not compulsory to provide it, it’s generally in your best interest to do so, so that you receive the right concessional contribution tax rates and any government co-contributions payments you might be eligible for.

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