New pension rules came into effect on 6 April 2015 which have brought many welcome changes. But what about the changes which are not so good? Careful consideration needs to be made with regard to how the changes may affect you.
The most significant change is probably the removal of pension funds from Inheritance Tax. This, together with the ease with which tax relief can be lost, means that individuals will need to seek financial advice.
So what are the pitfalls?
Certain events, including a payment from a flexi access draw-down, will trigger the “money purchase annual allowance rules”. Triggering these rules will reduce the annual allowance on which pension tax relief can be claimed from £40,000 to £10,000 and will also result in the loss of any unused relief from earlier years. Clearly, if you intend to make pension contributions in excess of £10,000 in future years, you will need to take financial advice before making any alterations to your existing pension provisions.
From the age of 55, you used to be able to take 25% of your fund tax-free but under the new rules you are able to draw the whole of the remaining fund in one lump. This will be taxed as income and could push you into the higher rate tax bracket or even worse push your income to such a level that the personal allowance is no longer due. Careful consideration needs to be given to when and how much income is withdrawn at any one time in order to minimise the amount of tax due.
If you spend all your pension savings in the early years, you could run out of money long before you anticipated. This could also be the case if the fund does not perform as well as expected. Again financial advice needs to be taken before any decisions are made.
Please contact Green & Co for further information.
Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.