The lifetime allowance was introduced on 6 April 2006 (A-Day) but has not remained at the same level and has even reduced in recent years. It is currently £1 million having reduced from £1.25 million.
Historic lifetime allowance levels can be found in our rates and factors area.
Defined benefit schemes can only offer a scheme pension. A scheme pension involves paying a pension for life out of the scheme assets or buying an annuity out of the scheme assets.
The value of the annual amount of pension promised by the scheme is multiplied by a standard valuation factor of 20:1. Where some of the pension is commuted for a lump sum, it is the pension after commutation that is multiplied by the standard valuation factor of 20:1. This factor includes an allowance for dependant's benefits up to the level of the member's pension at date of death and for annual increases of 5%. Any defined benefit scheme that provides better increases can apply to HM Revenue and Customs for a scheme specific valuation factor which can be higher than 20:1.
Defined lump sums are valued using a factor of 1:1 and are added to the above value.
Drawdown* The valuation basis is based on the actual fund value (market value of the assets) used to secure either:
* It's not been possible to set up a new capped drawdown plan since 6 April 2015
Secured Pension The valuation basis used depends on the option chosen when benefits are crystallised. These are:
If a scheme provides a separate tax-free cash lump sum (TFC) and not by way of commutation this will be valued based on a valuation factor of 1:1 and added to the value above.
Benefits that were in payment before 6 April 2006 also have to be included when valuing benefits taken after 6 April 2006. The benefits are valued when the first benefit crystallisation event takes place after 6 April 2006. Annuities in payment are valued at 25:1.
If the benefits are provided by capped income drawdown it is 80% of the GAD maximum income valued at 25:1.
If the capped drawdown plan is converted to flexi-access drawdown the valuation is 80% of the GAD maximum income for the year of conversion valued at 25:1.
The reason why they are valued at 25:1 rather than 20:1 is because the individual will most likely have taken a tax free lump sum when the benefits were originally taken.
The lifetime allowance charge applies to members who have benefits in excess of the lifetime allowance when benefits are taken. The lifetime allowance charge can apply in either of two ways or a combination of both depending on how the excess benefits are taken. The charge is:
More information can be found in our article lifetime allowance charge.
It is possible to apply for protection against the lifetime allowance.
Two forms of protection, fixed protection 2016 and individual protection 2016 were introduced on 6 April 2016. They were introduced when the lifetime allowance reduced to £1 million. Those intending to apply for fixed protection 2016 will have to ensure that active membership of pension schemes ceases from 6 April 2016. There is no deadline for applying for fixed or individual protection 2016.
The information provided is based on our current understanding of the relevant legislation and regulations and may be subject to alteration as a result of changes in legislation or practice.
Published May 2012