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.

UNISON_trade_union_logoThe team at Corporate Benefits Consulting have been guiding the Trustees and Employers of the Unison Strathclyde Region Branch Pension Plan through an extremely complex and difficult Scheme closure and ultimate wind up. Our Client Manager, Allan Maxwell, has provided expert advice at all stages of this process which included the negotiation of a transfer of the Active members to the Unison Staff Pension Scheme and the securing of benefits for the remaining pensioners and deferred members. At Unison we feel it is important that our advisers are able to deal effectively with our pension arrangements offering imaginative and timely advice. Corporate Benefits have assisted us greatly by presenting comprehensive solutions to the problems that we faced. If good, practical pensions and employee benefits advice is what your company needs then Corporate Benefits would be a good starting point.
Catherine McClymontTrusteeUnison