Showing posts with label HMRC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HMRC. Show all posts

Sunday, October 6, 2013

How To Make Overseas Pension Transfers

If you are an expat with a pension in your home country, you might be thinking there is no point in moving your funds offshore. After all, the money is secure, you might not need it for a while and you trust your pension pot back home. Today, we invite pension expert Sofia Kluge, Web Editor & Community Manager at OPP award winning foreign exchange comparison site to provide some tips on making overseas pension transfers

Why It Pays To Transfer Your Pension

What you may not know is that by transferring your pension to your new home country, you will be free of the restrictions and tax laws governing your pension right now. By transferring your pension you could potentially be thousands of pounds better off and have better control over what happens to your money once you retire. You’ve worked hard for the money in your pension so doesn’t it make sense to transfer your pension without risk?

Pension Transfer Requirements

In order to transfer your UK registered pension, you will need to transfer it to a Qualifying Registered Overseas Pension Scheme (QPROPS). The trustees of your current pension scheme will check that the scheme you are planning to transfer is a QPROPS and that it complies with HMRC requirements. 

What You Need To Know About QPROPS

QPROPS is a set of regulations set down by the HMRC. It is essential that the overseas pension scheme you select for your transfer comply with these regulations. If it doesn’t, you may be liable to pay a huge 55% unauthorised transfer charge. You won’t usually need to pay any UK tax fees because you will not be living in the UK when your QPROPS payments are made to you. 

QPROPS was first introduced in 2006 and was designed to give people living in the UK to emigrate to another country and to take their pension with them. Whether you are going to be drawing your pension in a couple of years or you plan to continue paying into your pension for many years to come, transferring it to your new home country makes a lot of sense. 

The QPROPS Process

Once you have decided that you would like to transfer your pension, you can speak to a QPROPS advisor to discuss the money transfer and the best way of organising everything. 

Your QPROPS service will usually include the following:

  • A free initial consultation to ascertain your personal circumstances.
  • If you decide to proceed with the QPROPS transfer, your advisor will give you a personalised report detailing their recommendations.
  • Your advisor will then go over the recommendations to ensure you are clear on all points and have everything you need to make an informed choice. 
  • If you are happy to proceed, your advisor will issue the relevant forms to you so that you can complete and sign them. 
  • Your QPROPS advisor will then arrange the transfer of money from your UK scheme into your new QPROPS scheme overseas. 
  • Once the money transfer has taken place, your QPROPS advisor will make all of the arrangements to ensure your monies are made available to you upon your retirement date.

Choosing The Right Pension Transfers Company

Before you decide to go ahead with your pension transfer, it pays to shop around for the right advice. The HMRC website offers plenty of advice on QPROPS transfers and your pension transfers broker will also give you all the information you need about the process. 

Shop around for an international money transfer broker with years of experience in transferring pensions to a broad spectrum of different countries or choose a broker that is experienced in the country you are emigrating to. Ensure the FCA regulated currency broker is authorized and regulated. They will be aware of the rules and regulations that are specific to that country and ensure a swift and smooth transfer. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pension Liberators Prey on UK People Feeling the Pinch

The UK financial crisis rumbles on. After the 'great recession' of 2008-2009 it was speculated that the financial stability of the UK would recover and technically the country would be out of the recession by the first quarter of 2012. 

But the economic recovery has failed to gain traction and the UK now finds itself in the longest financial downturn slump in more than a century.

The UK government has commenced savage cuts in public spending and average UK household debt is one of the worst and spiralling. In fact, nearly one in five people in the UK who plan to retire in 2013 have unpaid credit cards and mortgage debts. This equals an alarming number of middle-aged people within the UK population who are finding themselves desperately trying to keep the wolves from the door with limited financial weapons to choose from. But, there is one metaphorical pot of gold that many are turning to.

For those that have saved for their retirement into a personal or company pension, tapping into that pension pot can seem like an easy way out to clear that financial burden. But in reality, invading those pension savings before the age of 55 in the UK can have severe consequences in terms of financial comfort during retirement and can also land people in hot water with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) - the UK taxman.

Unscrupulous, unregulated individuals and marketing companies have been conning hard-up pension savers with "Pension Liberation Schemes". These schemes are unauthorised by the Financial Services Authority (the regulatory body in the UK for all Financial Advisors and Services). These schemes let pension savers "borrow" from their pension, before the age of 55 - which is the age that retirees can draw their pension.

These advisors and companies contact their victims usually via text message, emails or cold calling. They offer a "too good to be true" offer. They fail to explain the consequences of their scheme, which can leave people in financial ruin when they actually reach retirement. They take control of your pension fund, put it into a corporate bond and lend half of its value back to the victim...which must be repaid along with interest before retirement. They also charge hefty fees of between 10 to 50 percent of the fund value. HMRC will also require the victim to pay tax...but rarely do these scam advisors tell the individual this. This leaves the victim with a significant tax bill as well as penalty charges if they fail to disclose it to HMRC from the outset.

UK authorities are desperately trying to tackle pension liberation fraud, as are many pension providers - in the form of suspending transfers into schemes of which they are suspicious. However there are many people still being caught out.

Pension unlocking however is a perfectly acceptable way to utilise cash in a pension. From the age of 55, UK pension savers can take a tax-free cash lump sum from their pension of up to 25 percent of the total fund value which can be used to clear expensive debts. The remaining pension can then be either used to purchase an annuity, or one of a handful of other options designed to provide an income in retirement such as an income drawdown pension.

Above all it is important that people seek professional advice from regulated experts that specialise in post-retirement income. have a wealth of experience in UK annuities and pension transfers. Their website offers a wealth of information including the different options available and an annuity rates calculator. A UK regulated company will be able to provide their FSA number which can be verified.

Regardless of the options, a decision to raid pension savings should never be taken lightly and in reality should really be used as a last resort where debts are crippling and the economic benefit of paying them off with a tax free cash lump sum far outweighs the benefits of leaving the pension pot to grow until the saver stops working. In the UK, the state pension age is between 61 and 68, however individuals can continue working past UK state pension age if they wish. Even the perfectly legal practice of pension unlocking in the UK, will inevitably leave the individual with significantly less income in retirement than if the pension fund remained untouched.

Some questions that should start alarm bells ringing with any individual who has been approached by one of these pension liberation schemes, are as follows:

  • Are you a UK citizen aged under 55? 
  • Were you contacted by an unsolicited, email, text or cold call? 
  • Is the advisor or company regulated in the UK by the FSA and can you verify this? 
  • Have you recently left the UK Armed Forces, work in the UK Public Sector or have you recently been declared bankrupt? 
  • Is this scheme registered or newly registered with HM Revenue and Customs? 
  • Has the advisor or company mentioned "legal loophole"? 
  • Are you being pressured into transferring your pension quickly? 

In December 2011, the UK High Court ruled that schemes allowing savers to access their saved pension funds before the age of 55 are illegal. There are extenuating circumstances where individuals may be allowed to access before the 55 year old threshold and this is usually in the case of a diagnosed terminal illness.

Author Bio

Lee Rawding is an Independent Financial Advisor in the UK who specialises in post-retirement income options and pension annuities.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Are You Paying Too Much Tax? – How to Claim Tax Back if You Are

Taxes (Photo credit: Tax Credits)
If you think you’ve been paying too much tax, then how do you claim tax back? Here’s the low down on how to get your money back and what to do if you think you’ve overpaid. Overpayment can appear in many guises, either through income tax, PAYE, self assessment, pension, savings or national insurance, so let’s take a look at each one in turn. 

Income Tax 

Tax on your income is taken from the amount that you earn each year and is broken down as follows. 

  • Anyone under 65 can earn up to and including £8165 before they’re taxed 
  • Anyone between the ages of 65 -74 can earn up to and including £10,500 
  • Anyone 75 and over can earn up to and including £10,660 
This system works well for a person with one full time job with a rate of pay that’s fixed. However it mightn’t be as straight forward for someone who doesn’t fit into this criteria. If you feel that you have been overpaying tax, then contact the HMRC, or use the free HMRC income tax checker. 


The majority of the UK workforce pay tax through the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system which is deducted automatically from your salary. PAYE uses a tax code to determine how much tax you should be paying, but if your pay fluctuates or you’re not employed for the full year, then again, you could be paying too much tax. If you believe this to be the case, then you should contact HMRC and ask for a tax assessment. Claims can be backdated for as much as four years. 

Self Assessment 

If you are self employed and feel that you have been paying too much tax, then similarly to PAYE you need to get in touch with HMRC. You have four years to claim backdated overpayments. Alternatively if you need to make a claim, or to correct a mistake on your last tax form, then you can do so by completing an amendment form. This is again available from the HMRC. 


Tax can be paid either on personal, company or indeed state pensions and there may be a chance that you are paying over the top. This can be for a number of reasons. It could be that: 

  • You've been allocated an incorrect tax code 
  • Your entitlements have changed 
  • Your circumstances have changed (ie age) 
Again contact the HMRC explaining the situation, but you’ll need evidence such as your P60, P45, and any other information relating to your pensions and benefits.


The majority of savings accounts automatically deduct tax from the interest on your savings before it hits the bank. If you are excluded tax (ie filled in an R85 form) or your savings are in an ISA, then you shouldn’t have to pay standard savings tax. If you are, then ask for and fill in an R40 form and contact your local tax office. 

National Insurance 

If you’ve had a succession of jobs in one year then chances are could be paying too much national insurance. Visit the DirectGov website to check out if you are indeed paying too much and which form you have to fill in. 

In essence, if you are paying too much tax, then don’t worry unnecessarily. As long as you know who to contact and what forms to fill in, you should be able to claim tax back easily. Claim Tax Back at

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