Pension input periods and pension input amounts (post 8 July 2015 rules)

These concepts have been with us since 6 April 2006 but with the reduction in the annual allowance to £40,000 more people are affected.
Key facts
  • The annual allowance is currently £40,000

Pension input period (PIP):

  • This is the period of time used to measure contributions paid/benefits accrued for testing against the annual allowance, money purchase annual allowance (MPAA) or tapered annual allowance (TAA).
  • The annual allowance used is the one that's in force at the end of the PIP - a charge is levied if the annual allowance, MPAA or TAA available is exceeded at the end of the period.
  • Since 8 July 2015:
    • PIPs have been brought into line with tax years.
    • It's no longer possible to change the end date of a pension input period.

Pension input amount:

  • For defined contribution plans this is the amount of contributions made during the pension input period.
  • For defined benefit schemes, the pension input amount is the value of benefits accrued over the pension input period.
  • Transfers from other plans don't count towards this amount.

 

What is a pension input period?

A pension input period (PIP) is the period of time used to measure contributions paid/benefits accrued for testing against the annual allowance, MPAA or TAA.

Since the summer Budget on 8 July 2015 PIPs have been brought into line with the tax year (6 April to 5 April).

It is not possible to change a PIP.

For more information on the position prior to 8 July 2015 see our article Pension input periods and pension input amounts (Pre 8 July 2015 Rules).

PTM052001: Pension input periods

What is a pension input amount?

The pension input amount for a defined contribution plan is the amount of contributions made during the pension input period.

For defined benefit schemes, the pension input amount is the value of benefits accrued over the pension input period.

Transfers from other plans don't count towards the pension input amount.

Note: Where a member takes benefits as a result of severe or serious ill-health or dies, no pension input amount will arise for pension input periods ending in the tax year in which any of these events happen.

PTM053000: Pension input amounts

PTM051200: When the annual allowance charge does not apply

A pension input amount calculation for a defined benefit scheme

Fred has 34 years of benefits accrued in a defined benefit scheme. The scheme provides a pension of 1/60 of pensionable salary for each year of pensionable service.

His pensionable salary is £36,000. In year 35 he gets a promotion and his new salary is £42,000. His pension input period ends on 5 April 2020.


Step 1

Calculate the opening entitlement. This is 34/60 x £36,000 = £20,400. 

Step 2

Multiply the opening entitlement by 16. £20,400 x 16 = £326,400.  Add any tax-free cash that is not paid by commutation.


Step 3

Revalue this amount by the increase in the CPI (the consumer prices index to the September before the start of the tax year in which the pension input period ends). If CPI was 2.5%, the up-rated value would be £326,400 x 1.025 = £334,560.

Step 4

Calculate the closing entitlement. This is 35/60 x £42,000 = £24,500.

Step 5

Multiply the closing entitlement by 16.  £24,500 x 16 = £392,000.  Add any tax-free cash that is not paid by commutation.

Step 6

Calculate the difference between the revalued opening entitlement and the closing entitlement. This is £57,440 [£392,000 - £334,560].

In this example Fred is over the annual allowance. He will need to tell HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) that he has exceeded the annual allowance through his tax return.  The excess will suffer an annual allowance charge that will effectively remove all tax relief on the excess.  If he had any unused annual allowance from previous years this could be carried forward to remove or reduce the annual allowance charge.

Why do they matter?

They matter because the pension input amount is measured against the annual allowance that is in force at the end of the pension input period.

If the MPAA or TAA applies the pension input amount is tested against the lower allowance.

In this example Fred is over the annual allowance. If the pension input amount from all of the member's plans is greater than the annual allowance available an annual allowance charge is due. The annual allowance applies to the pension input amounts for all of a member's plans with pension input periods ending in that tax year.

For example, if the end of the pension input period was 5 April 2020 it would be tested against the 2019/20 limit of £40,000. The tax charge is at the member's marginal rate of tax and will be dealt with through the member's tax return.

The steps for calculating the annual allowance charge and how to pay the annual allowance charge can be found in HMRC's pensions tax manual.

It's possible to carry forward unused annual allowance from previous pension input periods to increase the amount of annual allowance or TAA available.  You cannot use carry forward if the MPAA applies.

How long does a pension input last for?

The PIP lasts from the day the first regular or single payment is paid to the plan and runs to the following 5 April. They then run in line with the tax year.

PTM052000: Annual allowance: pension input periods: contents
PTM053000: Annual allowance: pension input amounts: contents

Notes

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.

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The Royal London Mutual Insurance Society Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. The firm is on the Financial Services Register, registration number 117672. It provides life assurance and pensions. Registered in England and Wales number 99064. Registered office: 55 Gracechurch Street, London, EC3V 0RL.