Carry forward - frequently asked questions

Published  26 January 2024
   4 min read

Let’s look at frequently asked questions we receive about carry forward.

Your questions answered.

If the individual was a member of a registered pension scheme in the year they want to carry forward from, they’ll be able to use carry forward. The definition of member is very broad and includes an active, deferred, pensioner and pension credit member. 

It’s not possible to use carry forward to pay contributions to a defined contribution/money purchase scheme above the money purchase annual allowance. When the money purchase annual allowance is triggered, tax relievable contributions to defined contribution/money purchase  schemes are limited to £10,000. Contributions above that amount attracts an annual allowance charge. Carry forward is still available for any defined benefit scheme funding.

No. They will need relevant earnings in the year of payment to support any personal contributions.

For example, if there’s £100,000 worth of unused carry forward, the client will need earnings of at least £100,000 to make a personal contribution of this level and receive tax relief.

A contribution made by an employer is not limited to the individual’s relevant earnings. But it’s subject to the wholly and exclusively rule.

Carry forward can still be used if the taper applies, you simply substitute the tapered annual allowance for the standard annual allowance in the calculations. The taper was introduced in tax year 2016/17 and the income limits have changed over time.

No, although it makes sense to keep records in case HMRC query any contributions in the future.


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.