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Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Pensions, benefits and tax when retiring abroad

If you're retiring abroad, or considering doing so, it's important to look into the effect this will have on your finances before you go. This should ensure that you're well prepared.

Your State Pension

If you're retiring abroad, you can still receive your UK State Pension. You may even be able to arrange for it to be paid directly into your bank account abroad, if you have one.

Check your entitlement to yearly rises

Bear in mind, though, that to receive State Pension rises you must live in the European Economic Area (EEA) or in one of the countries with which the UK has a social security agreement that covers State Pension increases.

If you spend six months or more each year in the UK, you'll be entitled to have your State Pension – with yearly increases – paid in full.

Contact The Pension Service

When you move abroad, it's a good idea to let The Pension Service know your new address as soon as possible.

Personal and company pensions

If you're in a personal or company pension scheme, moving abroad shouldn't have any effect:

  • your pension should continue to be paid in full
  • you're normally entitled to any rises regardless of the country you retire to

However, it's important to check the details of your pension scheme carefully before you move. In particular, check whether:

  • your scheme will pay into an overseas bank account – some company schemes will only pay into a UK bank
  • your annuity company will transfer money overseas free of charge (some companies will charge you for each overseas payment)

Benefits

Your entitlement to benefits abroad depends on which country you're going to.

You might be able to continue to receive benefit or make a claim for benefit if you go to a European Economic Area (EEA) country, or a country that has a social security agreement with the UK. It's important to check the social security agreement with the country you're moving to before you leave.

It's also a good idea to check with the authorities in the other country if you can claim their benefits.

If you're already claiming benefits

You must let your social security office (Jobcentre or Jobcentre Plus office) know you're going abroad. They'll be able to tell you how your benefits will be affected.

Find your local office through the Jobcentre Plus website or in the local phone book, under 'Jobcentre Plus'.

Tax

Do you count as a UK resident for tax purposes?

Residence rules can be complicated, but broadly speaking, if you leave the country you will remain a UK resident for tax purposes if you spend either:

  • an average of 91 days or more in the UK each tax year (calculated over a maximum of four years)
  • 183 days or more in the UK during one tax year

Tax on income from the UK

If, while living abroad, you'll be receiving income from the UK – for example from pensions, rents or investments – this will be liable for UK tax.

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