This is the ninth edition of the Pensions Tax Simplification Newsletter. The Newsletter keeps pension providers, employers and savers informed of new developments before A-Day. If you are a pension provider or an employer, please make sure that the appropriate people in your organisation read it.
As A-Day is now just over two months away it is an opportune time to
assess what we have achieved.
Thank you to everyone in the Pensions Industry for all the support and help we have received.
A-day will not mean the end of the project as far as HMRC is concerned. The IT will be delivered in stages over the next 12 months and there will a new reporting cycle to go through beginning with the Accounting For Tax form at the end of June 2006. Over the next 12 months pensions tax simplification will be integrated into the business of APSS.
In this section of the Newsletter we are giving you an update on the publication of legislation, guidance and forms,as well as providing further information on 'hot topics'.
Aside from Finance Acts 2004 and 2005, there will be some legislation
in Finance Bill 2006 as detailed in the PBR
technical note (PDF 116K) (Opens new window). We know people are anxious to see this
legislation and are working towards publishing the draft legislation as
quickly as possible. When we publish, it will be flagged up on our Website.
The announced regulatory measures will result in just over 40 regulations or orders and the first tranche of 11 regulations was laid 15th December 2005. A second tranche of 10 regulations was laid 26 January 2006 and will come into force 6th April 2006. This means that almost half of the regulations and orders have now been laid.
The first tranche of regulations in the main put in place the machinery necessary to enable pension providers to operate the new pension regime. The second tranche builds on this by putting in place regulations concerning the liability of a scheme administrator, provisions to enable individuals to rely on the enhanced lifetime allowance, defining certain terms and specifying the taxation treatment of certain payments as authorised member payments.
We expect to lay the remaining vast majority if not all the regulations
in the next 4 weeks. Any that fall beyond this window will be laid as
soon as possible thereafter.
The Statutory Instruments laid 26 January 2006 are:
The Registered Pension Schemes (Relevant Annuities) Regulations
These regulations provide definitions of the terms 'relevant annuity' and 'annual amount' that are relevant in calculating the 'basis amount' used for the application of the annual pension payment on the level of unsecured pension and alternatively secured pension that can be drawn from a money purchase arrangement.
The Registered Pension Schemes (Uprating Percentages for Defined
Benefit Arrangements and Enhanced Protection Limits) Regulations 2006
These regulations prevent statutory increases under social security legislation from either triggering the annual allowance charge or invalidating enhanced protection.
The Registered Pension Schemes (Enhanced Lifetime Allowance)
Regulations 2006 No.
The pension scheme legislation includes provision that an individual has a lifetime allowance on the amount of pension savings that may benefit from tax relief. The legislation that provide for an enhanced lifetime allowance specify that it only applies if notice of intention to rely on it is given in accordance with regulations. These regulations contain the provisions that enable an individual to rely on enactments providing for an enhanced lifetime allowance.
The Armed Forces And Reserve Forces (Compensation Scheme)(Excluded
Benefits For Tax Purposes) Regulations 2006 No.
The tax regime governing the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) exempts to income tax benefits payable under the scheme. The provisions that will apply from 6 April 2006 to employer-financed retirement benefit schemes, which are schemes that are not registered pension schemes, mean that some benefits from the AFCS would be taxable. These regulations ensure that such benefits paid from the 6 April 2006 are 'excluded benefits' and will continue to be exempt.
The Registered Pension Schemes (Co-Ownership Of Living Accommodation)
Regulations 2006 No.
The Chancellor announced in his 2006 Pre Budget Report that the Government would remove tax advantages for self-directed pension schemes investing in residential property. However, certain self-directed pension schemes, primarily some small self-administered schemes (SSASs) set up pre 1991 and certain retirement annuity schemes (RACs) have the ability to invest in residential property under current rules.
Transitional protection will be extended to allow these particular schemes to continue to hold residential property in their asset portfolio under the new regime, subject to certain restrictions. Because such schemes, and other, non-self-directed schemes may continue to both hold residential property under the new pensions tax regime and provide benefits for members in respect of that property, the legislation relating to member benefits, of which these Regulations are a part, remains in place.
These Regulations apply where living accommodation is owned partly by a registered pension scheme and partly by other persons. The regulations provide for a charge to income tax to arise in certain circumstances. If these regulations apply, 'the living accommodation benefit' arises. The amount of the benefit apportioned on the individual is calculated in the same way as a taxable benefit is calculated under Chapter 5 of Part 3 of the Income Tax (Employments and Pensions) Act 2003. This is referred to as 'the private owner’s benefit'. The amount of the benefit apportioned to the registered pension scheme is treated as an unauthorised payment, and is referred to as 'the pension scheme owner’s benefit'.
The Registered Pension Schemes (Authorised Payments) (Transfers
To The Pension Protection Fund) Regulations 2006 No.
Where the sponsoring employer of a registered pension scheme has become insolvent, the property, rights and liabilities of that scheme may be transferred to the Pension Protection Fund (under provisions in the Pensions Act 2004). These regulations provide that such transfers are treated as 'authorised member payments' and so will not trigger any tax charge.
The Registered Pension Schemes (Authorised Member Payments) Regulations
These regulations prescribe as an authorised member payment, a payment made by an insurance company to a member of a registered pension scheme which is neither an occupational pension scheme nor a public service pension scheme, or the holder of a qualifying annuity contract, in connection with the company’s demutualisation,
The Registered Pension Schemes (Reduction In Pension Rates) Regulations
The general benefit rules require that a pension is payable until the later of member's death or the end of a term not exceeding ten years; and the rate of pension payable is not less from one year to the next. These regulations provide further circumstances in which members’ scheme pensions may be stopped or reduced.
The Pension Benefits (Insurance Company Liable As Scheme Administrator)
Regulations 2006 No.
These regulations provide that where an insurance company makes payment of certain lump sum death benefit it is treated as the scheme administrator and as such is liable to the special lump sum death benefits charge, and making returns of the liability to HMRC.
The Registered Pension Schemes (Meaning Of Pension Commencement
Lump Sum) Regulations 2006 No.
Where there has been an overpayment of tax on the lifetime allowance charge which is refunded by HMRC to the scheme, these regulations override, in certain circumstances, the rules that require the Pension Commencement Lump Sum to be paid within 3 months, or before the member reaches age 75.
All laid regulations can be found on Statutory Instruments.
Three new regulations have been published in January.
Please note there is a requirement that schemes wishing to be treated as a split scheme must provide HMRC by 17 February 2006 with the details set out in the publication announcement which accompanies the draft regulation.
HMRC has been involved in two consultations that have recently closed
1. The Treasury consultation on the establishment and regulation of
2. HMRC consultation on GAD tables
We are currently analysing the responses, with a view to putting recommendations to Ministers possibly next month. There should be a Government announcement shortly after that.
There are now Technical pages of all the chapters of RPSM on the Internet, in both HTML and PDF formats (with the exception of Chapter 7 which is only available in HTML format).
Work is continuing to publish more Member, Scheme Administrator and Employer pages.
In addition, we have started to update the contents of the already-published guidance, to reflect the final provisions of regulations which have now been laid. We shall publish this updated guidance as soon as we possibly can, probably in PDF format initially, and an announcement will be made at that time on the 'What's New' web-page. The page on the web detailing all amendments to the manual will be revised to show which page has been altered and updated as changes are announced. It will not refer to the printable downloads which mirror the content of the manual.
We are currently converting the draft forms that were published on the Internet site in November into the HM Revenue & Customs corporate style. We will start publishing the final versions of our forms, starting with those relating to the protection of existing rights, during March.
Although as we rapidly approach A Day we continue to receive many enquiries regarding the new tax rules, more and more of our customers are finding they are able to 'self-serve' using our new Guidance. For those situations where the answer is not covered by the published Guidance, we will try and provide a full response but we ask our customers to bear in mind that at present we may not be able to answer them all as quickly as we would like.
At the PIWG meeting on 22 November we asked members to provide us with their remaining concerns . These are set out below with a statement of progress.
We plan to lay the vast majority of the remaining regulations by the middle of February. HMRC Solicitor and Policy met with representatives of the Association of Pension Lawyers in December to discuss representations on revised modification Regulations and following that our Solicitor is now drafting a revised version which we aim to have laid by the end of January.
The Technical chapters of the guidance are now 95% complete and will be completed by April. All the technical chapters are now available to be read on the Internet in either HTML or pdf .
We will create a better procedure for highlighting changes by revising from The Amendment Log that is already on the internet to make it more useful by referring to the specific page numbers that have been amended rather than just the chapter within the amendments are contained.
Confirmation for the first part lies with finalising the Information Regulations. We continue to receive representations on these regulations and we met with industry representatives in December following which further changes may be needed. A revised draft is now being considered and our aim is to lay this consistent with the timescales set out above for the remaining regulations.
Following industry representations there will be no prescribed form of wording with regard to what should be included in the disclosure and the Information Regulations will not require a particular form of words.
We are awaiting draft Finance Bill clauses from Parliamentary Counsel. We aim to publish as soon as available. This is however one of several Finance Bill clauses on which we are working and the others include recycling and residential property have a higher priority for early sight.
We cannot be precise about timing but Ministers are aware of the Industry’s wish to have clarity as soon as possible and we will do our best to meet that.
Draft guidance has now been published.
The NIC regulations will provide for a disregard for unauthorised payments from registered pension schemes.
The answers to most questions can now be found in the Registered Pension Schemes Manual, although for individuals until these pages are complete you may need to consult the more in-depth Technical Pages. For a brief overview of the new tax rules there are a number of factsheets available for individuals and employers.
HMRC Contact Centres will be able to most questions that individuals will have about the new contribution and benefit rules.
Pre A Day applications for approval
In newsletter 3 we detailed the revision to the application for approval process for schemes set up before A day. In that article it explained how a supplementary page PS252 should accompany new applications to pre-register the Scheme Administrator. To date we have received very few completed supplementary pages PS252 with the applications.
As we explained applications for approval can be received up to 30 June 2006. However, from 6 April 2006 before we can capture details of the scheme on to the Database we will first need to set up the details of the Scheme Administrator as defined in paragraph 4 of Schedule 36 Finance Act 2004. So after mid March, for any schemes which do not submit a supplementary page PS252 with their applications for approval we will use details of the Scheme Administrator as defined in section 611AA(8) ICTA 1988 as shown at section H of the application for approval form.
This means that if the Scheme Administrator post A day is not the same person as shown on the application for approval form then it is essential that a PS252 accompanies the application for approval.
What happens to an authorised practitioner if the Scheme Administrator who authorised them ceases to be the Scheme Administrator?
As the Scheme Administrator has ceased he is no longer entitled to view or receive information about the scheme relating to periods after cessation this also applies to any practitioner that they have authorised HMRC to deal with on their behalf.
The authorisation of the practitioner is linked to the Scheme Administrator of the scheme rather than the scheme itself. So if the Scheme Administrator who authorised them ceases to act as Scheme Administrator, then the practitioner would no longer be an authorised practitioner for that scheme. The notification of cessation by the Scheme Administrator will automatically result in the removal of both theirs and any of their authorised practitioner’s ability to view information about that scheme on Pension Schemes Online. The practitioner will be notified that the authority has been withdrawn.
If the new Scheme Administrator or the remaining Scheme Administrators also wanted HMRC to deal with the practitioner, then they would need to submit a new ‘Authorise Practitioner’ form either online or using the paper form APSS150
Changes to the Taxation of Trivial Commutation Payments from 6 April 2006
Registered pension schemes and insurance companies making trivial commutation payments on or after 6 April 2006 must apply PAYE and deduct tax accordingly from all such payments. Personal pension schemes already apply PAYE to such payments but they too will need to make some changes to their current procedures.
Insurance companies and other bodies making trivial commutation payments in respect of annuities payable directly under Retirement Annuity Contracts must also apply PAYE to these payments from 6 April 2006, even though they will not apply PAYE to the income from this type of annuity until 6 April 2007.
Schemes must ensure that such payments meet the different conditions set out for each of the lump sums in paragraphs 7, 10, 20 and 21 of Schedule 29 Finance Act 2004.
In accordance with Section 636B of the Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003 (ITEPA 03), recipients of trivial commutation and winding-up lump sums are treated as having taxable pension income for the tax year in which payment is made, equal to the amount of the payment. But if, prior to the payment, the member has not become entitled to any benefits under the scheme, only 75% of the lump sum is taxable pension income. PAYE only applies to the taxable portion of the trivial commutation payment.
Under Section 636C ITEPA 2003, the whole of any trivial commutation lump sum death benefit and winding-up lump sum death benefit is treated as taxable pension income. Schemes and annuity payers will need to ensure that their pension administration and payroll systems can properly identify how much of any such payment needs to be entered on the form P11.
Detailed guidance about how to apply PAYE from 6 April 2006 is included in the 2006/07 version of the HMRC publication CWG2 (2006) - 'Employer’s Further Guide to PAYE and NICs'. Paragraph 23 of the new CWG2 is reproduced at f) below. These instructions only apply to trivial commutation payments made on or after 6 April 2006. Where the trivial commutation lump sum is in respect of a pension or annuity already in payment, the PAYE code already in operation is applied. Where the lump sum is paid before the benefits have come into payment, emergency code applies. The P46 procedure will not apply.
Schemes or annuity payers making trivial commutation payments after 5 April 2006 who do not already have a PAYE scheme will need to contact HMRC and open a scheme.
Personal pension schemes will no longer be required to make reports of trivial commutation payments to HMRC Audit & Pension Schemes Services, as they do at present. The current reporting requirement ceases for triviality payments made after 5 April 2006.
PAYE deductions will often not match the recipient’s actual tax liability for the tax year, after taking account of other income, reliefs and allowances. HMRC is responsible for reconciling any difference.
We have introduced a simple in-year tax repayment claim procedure to enable those receiving trivial commutation lump sums to obtain immediate refunds from HMRC where excessive tax is deducted under PAYE. But we are conscious that many such recipients may not be aware they may be entitled to claim a tax refund. We want pension schemes and annuity payers to help us convey that message to their members.
We have drafted a short message which we would like schemes and annuity payers to issue at the point of payment. Please see the text of that message at g) below
We hope that schemes and annuity payers will deliver this message when making trivial commutation payments. We believe that by doing so they will also minimise the number of enquiries they receive from recipients about reclaiming tax.
The Registered Pension Schemes Manual contains further guidance about trivial commutation payments.
23 Trivial commutation payments relating to registered pension schemes
Where a trivial commutation payment is taxable in whole or part as pension income, then tax has to be deducted through PAYE from the taxable amount.
Commutation where pension payments have already started
Commutation payment where pension payments have not started
Tax advice for recipients of trivial commutation payments
Your form P45 details include the amount of tax deducted from your pension
commutation lump sum.
The tax deducted may not be the right amount due, when all of your income for the year is taken into account.
After next 5 April HM Revenue & Customs will check whether you have paid the correct amount of tax, and if not they will contact you.
But if you think you have paid too much tax you can ask HM Revenue and Customs for a tax refund now - you do not have to wait until 5 April.
To claim a refund call your usual Revenue and Customs office and ask for form P53A. You can find the numbers on the 'contact us' pages of the HMRC website at www.hmrc.gov.uk, or alternatively, in the phone book under HM Revenue & Customs, or under Inland Revenue in older editions.
It helps if you have your National Insurance number to hand when you call.
If you have any questions about anything to do with tax rules for pensions and you cannot find the answer in the Registered Pension Schemes Manual, you can contact us by email, phone or write to us using the details found on our contact page.