Pension plans are an important component of all wealth planning. Sovereign offer a range of retirement savings solutions and pension plans including Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS), Qualifying Non-UK Pension Scheme (QNUPS) and other retirement savings options.
Under UK legislation, effective from April 2006, expatriates or UK residents who have a demonstrable intention to move overseas may transfer the value of their UK pension rights to a non–UK pension scheme and thus potentially avoid exposure to UK tax and many of the UK pension fund restrictions. Sovereign has developed a market-leading range of HMRC-recognised QROPS in Gibraltar, the Isle of Man and Malta, which are world’s leading jurisdictions for pension transfers.
QROPS are available to former UK taxpayers, regardless of their domicile. On moving abroad, many UK taxpayers leave their UK pensions behind, which would generally have to be paid up and kept frozen until retirement. Such pensions would remain subject to UK pension’s law with additional UK tax suffered on pension payments. However expatriates, as well as UK residents who have a demonstrable intention to move overseas, can transfer the value of their UK pension rights to an approved non-UK pension scheme – a QROPS. A transfer can be made even if the existing UK pension scheme is in drawdown provided that the pension holder becomes non-UK resident and remains so for at least five complete UK tax years. UK rules impose a statutory lifetime allowance relating to the amount payable from UK-registered pension schemes, which is currently £1 million. The investment management of a QROPS can be directed by the member or can be delegated to an investment manager of the member’s choice.
QNUPS offer retirement planning with income tax, CGT and IHT benefits, particularly for UK resident and domiciled individuals. The QNUPS we recommend are established so that, with careful planning, the pension fund can be invested on a tax-free basis until the retirement date. The member can use the pension fund during their lifetime and, upon their death, the balance remaining can be passed on to their chosen heirs. However all distributions made to the member or to other beneficiaries will be subject to UK income tax if they are UK resident at the time. Generally, no UK IHT is levied on the investments in the pension when the member dies. If non-UK resident such taxes may, with careful planning, also be avoided in the member’s current country of residence and any forced heirship rules should not apply. There is no limit to the amount that can be contributed into a QNUPS and there is also no age limit for a member to set up a QNUPS although, if over 75 years of age they would need to take some benefits.
The investment management can be directed by the member or can be delegated to an investment manager of the member’s choice. QNUPS provide for a cost effective retirement strategy and are not deemed as aggressive tax avoidance, so remain compliant under both the General Anti-Abuse Rule (GAAR) and the Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes (DOTAS) rules.
In addition, an international retirement savings plan is a low cost, highly efficient method to plan your retirement and long-term future. It enables you to accumulate wealth to fit your financial circumstances as they change. There is no need for a regular fixed monthly commitment as assets can be added to the plan at any time. Free from income or capital gains tax, retirement fund growth will be maximised from the outset. International retirement savings plans can be established as individual plans, joint plans for spouses or as multi-member plans.