QROPS - Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes

HMRC will allow UK expats to remain a member of their UK pension schemes providing your scheme rules and trustees allow it. There are no residence restrictions for tax purposes on members of UK registered pension schemes.

Alternatively, you can consider transferring your pension funds to an overseas arrangement. Transfers out of UK registered pension schemes are tested against the lifetime allowance (LTA) and any amounts transferred above your lifetime allowance are subject to a tax charge of 25%. Transfers below the LTA will not attract a tax charge on transfer, providing the overseas scheme is a ‘qualifying recognised overseas pension scheme’ ( QROPS ).

Transfers to an overseas pension scheme that is not a recognized QROPS will be treated as ‘unauthorised payments’ and subsequently will be subject to tax charges.

A list of authorised QROPS is available on the HMRC website at www.hmrc.gov.uk/pensionschemes/qrops.pdf

If you choose to leave your pension in the UK, and you left the UK before 6 April 2006, but your UK pension later comes into payment, it will be subject to a test against the lifetime allowance which is 1.75 million GBP for 2009/2010 and 1.80 million for 2010/2011 and also 2011/2012.

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The advantages of a QROPS are as follows –
  • No requirements to purchase an annuity even at age 75
  • The freedom to choose where your money is held including ‘non standard’ assets such as’private equity’ and ‘real estate’ through a separate, wholly owned offshore Company as well as guaranteed funds
  • There are no limits to the value of assets held in the plan
  • Pass your remaining funds to your loved ones upon death with significant tax advantages
  • Asset protection and tax effective planning opportunities
  • Flexibility to access funds at any time (depending upon circumstances)
To arrange an initial, no obligation, confidential discussion regarding QROPS or other pension issues with one of our highly qualified pension specialists, please contact us.

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