QROPS transfers have to be UK pensions that are to be transferred overseas to a recognised HMRC accepted QROPS Pension Scheme. Transfer of a UK pension fund into a QROPS is a benefit crystallisation event. This means that if the fund is in excess of Lifetime Allowance currently £1.8 million, the excess proceeds will be taxable at the rate of 55%.
Where the individual continues to be a UK resident or has lived in the UK within the past 5 years there is a five year reporting period. During this period the scheme will be duty bound to report any unauthorised payments or investments. In effect this means that an individual would be restricted to UK scheme rules until they have been non-UK resident for 5 years. This would rule out investment in assets such as residential property and would restrict the pension commencement lump sum (tax free cash) element to 25%.
After the individual has resided outside the UK for 5 years, the requirement to report to the HMRC ceases and the pension regulations in your place of residence will apply instead.
Please note that tax treatment depends on the individual circumstances of each client and may be subject to change in future.
HMRC implemented new rules and regulation in April 2006 in the aim to make pension schemes and rules simpler. However there are still many complex rules and regulations to follow and it is also very important that professional tax advice is taken in the jurisdiction that an individual is resident/domicile before making the decision to proceed with a QROPS transfer.
Please note that the UK state pension is non transferable.
There is the risk of being fined 55% of your pension fund for an unauthorised pension transfer. That is why it is extremely important to speak with a UK authorised financial advisory firm to ensure your UK pension transfer to a QROPS is legal and authorised.
For further information on QROPS transfers and QROPS rules simply complete the form on the contact QROPS.net page or email us direct.