Pension Freedom and Choice

The freedom and choice in pension promised by, the Chancellor in his March 2014 budget, will apply from 6 April 2015.  The key points are detailed below:

  • Full access to take as much as you want from your Defined Contribution (Personal Pension) pension pots for individuals aged 55 or over from April 2015.
  • Tax Free Cash entitlement will remain at 25% of the fund, with any additional lump sum withdrawals or income being taxed as earned income.
  • The minimum age for accessing pension benefits will rise to age 57 in 2028, when the State Pension Age goes up to age 67.
  • No tax on death benefits for individuals who die before age 75.
  • On death before age 75 annuity payments and guarantee payments are paid tax free.
  • If you die after age 75 the income payments or lump sum will be taxed at the beneficiary’s marginal rate.
  • Similarly annuities will be taxed at their marginal rate where the annuitant dies after age 75.
  • The Lifetime Allowance (LTA) still applies and any benefits in excess of the LTA will be taxed in the normal way.
  • The Annual Allowance will remain at £40,000 for the 2015/2016 tax year.
  • Transfers from funded Defined Benefit (Final Salary) Pension Schemes will still be allowed, however only after professional independent financial advice has been given.

It is clear that the legislation changes announced in the March 2014 budget will change significantly the way money is drawn out of a pension arrangement.  If you want to take tax free cash, a lump sum or some income now, you should contact us to discuss Income Drawdown.  

The increased flexibility available as to how and when you access pension benefits will increase the need for individuals to seek independent financial advice.

While you can withdraw all of your fund in one go, you must consider the tax implications of such action.  You will also need to make sure that your money does not run out.

Frequently Asked Questions

The concept of a Workplace Pension Scheme was introduced by the Pensions Act 2008.  All employers in the UK are required to establish a Workplace Pension Scheme on their Staging Date.  On you Staging Date and each subsequent Pay Period you must carry out an Assessment of your employees.  The employer must deduct a contribution from the earnings of all their Eligible Employees and pay this to the scheme along with an employer contribution.   A process called Automatic enrolment.

I recently retired after 17 years as Chief Executive of Support in Mind Scotland, a medium sized Scottish mental health charity.  The organisation has long recognised the importance of accessing independent financial advice prior to retirement and has had an arrangement with Corporate Benefits for a number of years to offer this service to its staff. In my personal experience, the company does exactly what it says on the tin! I was given very helpful, accessible advice.  Iain McCallum was not only proactive in his approach; he was also very responsive to any queries I had.  I was made aware of the various options available to me, including enhanced annuities.  As a result, I improved my net retirement income by 35%, a not inconsiderable amount. As well as receiving guidance with the personal pension arranged through my employer, I also benefited from assistance with the administrative process for other existing pensions. Overall, Corporate Benefits transformed what can be a stressful and confusing experience into one that was straightforward and easily understood.  I would happily recommend them to others.  
Mary Weir (former) Chief Executive Support in Mind Scotland