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485,000 Australians are about to share $473 million

(Image: Getty)

Update (October 30): The Australian Taxation Office has confirmed the payments will go out from November 1 onwards.

Almost half-a-million Australians will soon receive a nice surprise, when the Australian Taxation Office will dish out a share of $473 million to them.

The ATO has confirmed to Yahoo Finance that data-matching will now allow some 'lost' superannuation to be returned to their rightful owners, with the first batch of payments scheduled to occur on November 1.

"Under new powers, the ATO has identified 485,000 existing ATO-held unclaimed super accounts containing a combined $473 million that will be returned to their owners’ active super account," a tax office spokesperson told Yahoo Finance.

If the amount is less than $200 or if the recipient is aged over 65 years, the tax office will make the payment to the person's bank account.

Eligible recipients do not need to do anything.

"Previously only you could reunite ATO held super by using ATO online services or a paper form," ATO assistant commissioner Graham Whyte told News Corp.

"Now the ATO can do it on your behalf."

The almost half-a-billion dollars to be paid in October is only 12 per cent of the $4 billion of orphaned super money held by the ATO.

Under new rules, superannuation accounts are automatically transferred to the ATO as when they have been inactive for 16 months and have a balance below $6,000.

Other circumstances when super is "unclaimed" and is handed to the tax office include if the person dies, the person was a temporary resident of Australia, or accounts that have been dormant for fives years and there's insufficient info to find the owner.

The ATO now holds funds in 5.4 million accounts, and the proactive matching of these funds to the rightful owner will continue beyond the October payments.

"This is an ongoing capability that will allow the ATO to be able to proactively consolidate certain types of unclaimed super money to an eligible active super account."

But not all the money can be proactively matched back to the owner, so Australians are advised to check themselves whether the ATO is holding their super.

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