Lifetime Allowance changes and ‘Fixed Protection 2014
By Chris Burke
This article is published on: 18th March 2014
This year the Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are lowering the UK Pensions Lifetime Allowance amount. This is the maximum allowance the HMRC grant to each individual to hold as a UK pension without incurring any extra tax charges. Previously, UK residents receive tax relief on the contributions made into a pension up to £1.8 million in 2010/2011 before it was reduced to £1.5 million in 2012. The HMRC has changed this twice over the last 8 years bringing the allowance down each time, from £1.8 million in 2010/2011 to £1.5 million 2012. The government agency is enforcing a further reduction to £1.25 million this coming year.
Any amount above the lifetime allowance is liable to 55% taxation when withdrawn as a lump sum, or 25% taxation when withdrawn as a pension.
It is important that those affected by this change apply for ‘Fixed Protection’ before 6th April 2014. A successful application allows the pensioner to maintain their lifetime allowance of £1.5 million as opposed to a reduced £1.25 million commencing from 6th April 2014.
A successful application for Fixed Protection in essence allows a pensioner to withdraw savings worth up to £1.5 million without paying the lifetime allowance charge which will soon affect all pensioners with more than £1.25 million across their schemes.
Firstly note – you cannot apply for ‘fixed protection’ 2014 if you already have ‘primary’, ‘enhanced’ or ‘fixed’ protection.
Secondly, you will lose fixed protection 2014 if:
a) You join a new pension scheme – unless you’re transferring pension savings from one of your existing schemes into the new scheme.
b) You build up new benefits in a defined benefits or cash balance pension pot above a set amount – enquire for further details.
c) You start saving in a new pension pot either under an existing pension scheme or a new pension scheme.
d) You have a contribution paid to any of your money purchase pension pots.
Apply for Fixed Protection 2014 at: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/pensionschemes/fp14online.htm
Calculate if Lifetime Allowance affects you at: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/tools/lifetimeallowance/index.htm