Overseas - frequently asked questions
Your questions answered.
Lexie's being seconded abroad by her employer for a few years. Can employee and employer contributions continue?
Let's take employee contributions first. In the tax year she leaves the UK, she'll have relevant UK earnings up to the point she leaves the country. This means she can pay tax relievable member contributions in the tax year up to the higher of those earnings and £3,600 (gross). For the next 5 tax years, she can continue to pay and get tax relief on contributions up to £3,600 a year. After that, no further tax relief will be given. Some providers will not accept any member contributions that aren't eligible for tax relief.
Employers get corporation tax relief by deducting their contributions from taxable profits. While Lexie's abroad, they'll continue to be able to do this so long as they can show that the contribution is still an expense for the company.
Maddie is a member of a UK personal pension plan. She's been living in France for the past 2 years and has been paying contributions of £3,600 a year gross to the plan. Can she transfer the personal pension to another provider and continue the contributions?
When you leave the UK, you can continue to get tax relief on gross contributions to a UK pension scheme for up to five tax years after you leave. However, these contributions can only be to a pension scheme you were a member of before you left the UK. Maddie can therefore transfer her personal pension to a new provider but contributions to the new plan can't get any tax relief as she is no longer a relevant UK individual.
Following Brexit, EU residents can’t normally start new UK pension schemes or enhance existing ones so, if she’s habitually resident in France rather than just being there for a set period, transferring to a new plan wouldn’t be an option for her.
Francoise is living in the UK and has a personal pension plan. She's also a member of a French pension scheme. Can she transfer the French scheme to her UK personal pension plan?
Yes, she can. In fact her personal lifetime allowance can be enhanced by the same percentage as the transfer value bears to the standard lifetime allowance at time of transfer if the transfer is from a QROPS. So, if the transfer value was £107,310 and she transfers now, when the lifetime allowance is £1,073,100, her personal lifetime allowance can be increased by 10% (£107,310/£1,073,100) to £1,180,410.
- The above assumes that none of the contributions to the French scheme attracted UK tax relief.
- Pension providers are not obliged to accept transfers of overseas pensions and many do not.
HMRC Pensions Tax Manual - PTM103500: transfers to a registered pension scheme from a QROPS or former QROPS
HMRC Pensions Tax Manual - PTM095410: lifetime allowance enhancement factors: The recognised overseas scheme transfer factor
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. Also it may not reflect the options available under a specific product which may not be as wide as legislations and regulations allow.
All references to taxation are based on our understanding of current taxation law and practice and may be affected by future changes in legislation and the individual circumstances of the investor.