What are QROPS?

On becoming an expat many people will have left their pensions back in the UK. These pensions will be subject to UK pension law regardless of where you are resident.  This means the pension income maybe subject to UK income tax at 20% deducted at source or higher and the member payment charge of upto 45% may apply on death.

Under the Pension Simplification Act in April 2006 (also known as A-Day) expatriates or UK residents who have and can demonstrate the intention to move overseas can transfer their UK pension rights to a non-UK pension scheme. The transfer must be made to a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS), that is recognised by HMRC. In so doing an expat can avoid much of the restrictions associated with a UK pension scheme.

HMRC produce a list of recognised schemes on their website, so you view if the scheme is legitimate or not. www.hmrc.gov.uk/pensionschemes/qrops.pdf

The tax treatment maybe different depending upon where you are resident which is why it is crucial to gain the advice of an expert. Alexander Peter Wealth Management offer Independent, Qualified Advice and have been advising on international pensions for years.

The advantages of a QROPS can be significant but the decision to move your pension should be taken lightly. It may well be that your current UK pension has guaranteed benefits such as a Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP) or has a Guaranteed Annuity Rate (GAR). In all cases a full recommendation report should be requested that looks at not only tax benefits but also costs and scheme benefits so that an unbiased review can be undertaken.

As the QROPS market has now matured the costs of setting up a QROPS are now no longer for those with large pension posts only. Many QROPS companies have special schemes for those with funds as low as £25,000.


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