UK pension plans are not a one-size-fits-all model as AIDAN BAILEY of The Fry Group reveals, outlining the many schemes available.
If you’ve worked in the UK but have retired to another country, under UK law your UK pension remains liable for income tax. However, this can easily be avoided by taking action. The current trend is to transfer pension benefits to a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) – designed to give you complete control over your finances while avoiding UK tax. While considered a powerful tool, a QROPS is generally more expensive than other UK-based equivalents. So it’s always wise to conduct a full review of your pension benefits and consider all available options.
Double Taxation Agreements (DTAs) Most DTAs require your pension to be taxed only in your country of residence – beneficial if tax rates in your resident country are lower than the UK. While a DTA doesn’t exist between the UK and all countries, it’s available in many countries within and around Asia, so it pays to check if your country of choice complies.
Foreign Service Relief Your pension can be exempted from UK tax if a substantial portion or better yet, the entire amount was earned through overseas employment. Complete a simple application to Her Majesties Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and your pension could be paid out in gross.
Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) If both DTA and Foreign Service Relief are not applicable for you, choose a QROPS. This overseas self-invested personal pension plan enables UK-registered pensions to be transferred to overseas jurisdictions upon approval from HMRC. As long as your funds are from a UK-registered pension and you’re a non-UK resident, Income Tax will not be deducted from any ongoing pension payments.
General Manager Singapore, International Division