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Flawed member data created during the formation of Media Super saw some accounts of one of the preceding funds, JUST Super, hold duplicate records without tax file numbers (TFNs), causing some member contributions to be taxed at the full marginal rate in the 2007-08 financial year.  After the creation of Media Super in 2008 from the merger of JUST Su­per and Print Super, the trustee found that some member accounts held dupli­cate records – one with a TFN advised and another without – that resulted in some contributions being taxed an ad­ditional 31.5 per cent.

“We found that we had multiple accounts, and the TFN issue was there,” Ross Martin, chief executive officer of Media Super, said. He said that member losses, which were eventually repaid from the trustee’s expenses budget by October 2008, numbered only in the hundreds of dollars, rejecting industry sources which placed the reimbursements much higher. “It cost hundreds of dollars, not millions, and the cases were limited – in the tens of members, not thousands.” It is understood that Media Super’s application to the Australian Tax Office (ATO) to be refunded the excessive tax payments was turned away because JUST Super, seen as the entity owed the money, no longer existed.

 

A similar situation befell Media Super when it belatedly applied to have JUST’s extinguished capital losses reinstated to it, because the merger had taken place before the Government granted CGT rollover relief for merging super funds last December. Martin denied that that the fund sought repayment from the ATO on the TFN issue. “The issue was the merger, and because of that, JUST didn’t exist. Normally it wouldn’t be corrected intra-fund, but there was a merger at the same time. “We didn’t apply to the ATO to get it back because it was an immaterial amount.

 

“We’re talking about the tax on contributions for the year to June 30, 2008, which for individual members would have been in the hundreds as they would have been charged the 40 per cent tax rate. We’re talking small amounts of money.” He said responsibility for the errors should not be placed on JUST Super’s administrator, Superpartners, and they were more likely caused by employers lodging multiple member contribution forms. “I’m not totally sure of the reason why we had the multiple accounts. It’s more likely to have been with the infor­mation supplied by employers.” He said the creation of multiple accounts for single members was “a common problem for all administrators and industry funds”.

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