Registered Pension Schemes and the Disclosure Regime
Regulation making powers in Finance Bill 2008
Pension Scheme Return Notices
Online system error messages
New Helpline number
Welcome to the thirty third edition of the Newsletter. Please can you pass this Newsletter on to anyone else in your organisation who you think may find it useful.
We are reminding pension scheme administrators (or practitioners acting on their behalf) about the tax avoidance scheme disclosure regime ('Disclosure').
Disclosure obliges those promoting (and in some cases using) certain types
of tax scheme to provide information about ('disclose') the scheme to HM
Revenue & Customs (HMRC). These are schemes:
Promoters who fail to disclose such schemes are liable to penalties.
The descriptions of tax schemes ('hallmarks') that need to be reported are set out in SI1543/2006 - The Tax Avoidance Schemes (Prescribed Description of Arrangements) Regulations 2006.
Registered pension schemes (unlike employer-financed retirement benefit schemes) are specifically excluded from the hallmark for standardised tax products. However, a registered pension scheme, its funding by employers and the investments it makes may still be disclosable if they fall within the one of the hallmarks (confidentiality, premium fee or off market terms) which target tax schemes seeking to obtain a tax advantage in new and innovative ways.
For further information see disclosure regime and Registered Pension Schemes.
We have recently published guidance around the regulation making powers in Finance Bill 2008.
Since 16 October 2007 it has been mandatory for the Pension Scheme Return to be filed online.
You may recently have received an electronic notice to file a pension scheme return that was sent to your electronic noticeboard on Pension Schemes Online. And, if you so elected, you may also have received a paper version of the notice. If that is the case you will also receive a second paper notice.
This is because there was a minor error in the first paper notice which may have caused confusion about how the pension scheme return can be filed. The second paper notice makes it clear that the return must be filed online. There is no option to file the return by any other method. We apologise for any confusion that may have been caused.
The electronic notice to file was always correct and has not been reissued.
During January 2008 some customers reported receiving a 'system error' message when completing their Pension Scheme Return on Pension Schemes Online.
HMRC have identified a major cause of this as multiple clicking on the 'next' button on the page 'Land or interest in land, acquired at arms length' within the Pension Scheme Return.
Specifically, this issue occurs when:
It is the multiple clicking on the 'next' button that causes the 'system error' message.
When you access the page 'Land or interest in land, acquired at arms length' you should be careful to only click the 'next' button once.
We regret any inconvenience this may have caused. A solution to prevent this problem from occurring in the future is being developed and will be implemented in October 2008. HMRC are continuing to investigate whether there are other reasons for this problem. However it may be good practice to ensure that you only click on the 'next' button once when completing any forms within the Pensions Online Service.
The Pension Schemes Services helpline number has recently changed to:
0845 600 2622
This a lo-call rate number. The helpline will continue to be open on Monday to Friday from 9.00 am until 5.00 pm and now has an automated facility to help us make sure that your query is directed to the correct team. This will help to ensure that your call is dealt with more efficiently and therefore improve our customer service to you. Please note the old number (+44 (0)115 974 1600) should still be used if you are telephoning from overseas.
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.