Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS)
A Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) is an overseas pension scheme that meets specific requirements set by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), and it can receive transfers from UK Registered Pension Schemes (RPSs).
It was widely anticipated that the use of QROPS by UK residents would be restricted post-Brexit, by removing the relevant Overseas Transfer Charge (OTC) exemption and therefore introducing a 25% tax penalty on new transfers.
However, amendments and modifications to the Finance Act to reflect ‘EU Exit’ regulations means that UK residents continue to be exempt from an Overseas Transfer Charge (OTC) when transferring their UK pension benefits to an EEA or Gibraltar based QROPS.
LTA Planning Case Study
- The client is a 48-year-old French national and UK resident with UK pensions totalling c. £700,000.
- He is an investment professional and is targeting NET growth of 8% p.a. thorough a diversified Global Equity portfolio. If this level of growth is achieved, the client’s UK pensions will exceed the current standard LTA by age 54. The client intends to retire at age 60.
- At age 60, it is estimated that the fund could have grown to c. £1,820,000, and this would result in an LTA charge of either £186,725 or £410,795 if the pensions remain in the UK and depending on if the excess above the LTA is designated to provide income or taken as a lump sum.
- Our client transferred to a QROPS and crystallised c. 65% of his LTA with our advice and assistance. This meant he did not pay any LTA charges on transfer nor at retirement.
- Our client still has c. 35% of his LTA left, which would otherwise be used up by investment growth, to make further tax-efficient UK pension contributions.
- Within his QROPS, he has ‘open architecture’ investment options in multiple currencies. He can take 25% of the LTA as tax-free cash (UK tax residents) from age 55. Flexi-access drawdown (FAD) income can also be taken in line with his needs or a 100% lump sum. These can be paid gross subject to an applicable double tax treaty (DTT).
It has long been a common misconception that QROPS are only available to non-UK residents. This is not the case, and QROPS are available for UK residents and non-UK residents in the right circumstances.
Square Mile Asset Management can provide transfer and tax advice in this specialist, complex area. If you have UK pension assets above £250,000, please contact us for further information on our QROPS transfer advice service.