Cookies on the PFS website

By using and browsing the PFS website, you consent to cookies being used in accordance with our policy. If you do not consent, you are always free to disable cookies if your browser permits, although doing so may interfere with your use of some of our sites or services. Find out more »

Personal Finance Society
Recently added to my basket
 
Sorry but there was an error adding this to your basket. Please try adding it again
 

My PFS Technical news - 06/03/2018

Personal Finance Society news update 15 - 28 February 2018. Essential updates on taxation & trusts, investments and pensions.

Quick Links

Taxation and trusts

Investment planning

Pensions

TAXATION AND TRUSTS

OTS IHT general simplification review

(AF1, AF2, AF3, AF4, ER1, FA2, FA4, FA5, FA7, JO2, JO3, JO5, LP2, RO2, RO3, RO4, RO5, RO7, RO8)

Following on from the correspondence between the Chancellor and the Office of Tax Simplification last month, the OTS has now published a letter setting out the scope of its “IHT General Simplification Review”, ahead of a call for evidence in the near future.

The OTS aims to publish a report in Autumn 2018 with ‘specific simplification recommendations for government to consider’, which will presumably feed into the Autumn 2018 Budget.

There are few surprises in the scope set out by the OTS, although some may raise a wry smile at the OTS’s need to ask questions about ‘The perception of the complexity of the IHT rules amongst taxpayers, practitioners and industry bodies’. 

The government response to the Taylor Review of modern working practice

(AF1, AF2, JO3, RO3)

On 7 February the government published its response to the Matthew Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices and three other related consultations. Links to these can be found below: 

As we have stated before, the main thrust of the review was to examine (as the title would indicate!) working practices. Taxation was certainly not a “main item” on the report’s agenda. However, the review does consider employment status and the rights and responsibilities associated with it, particularly in relation to the so–called ‘gig economy’. And it’s this aspect that could lead to a change that would have a direct or indirect impact on the financial planning advice sector. It could lead to status changes that have a resulting tax impact and consequential impact for financial planning – not least of all in relation to pension provision.

We are some way from that actually being a reality, but the Taylor review started it and the responses and the new consultations have done little to halt what may end up being a “direction of travel”.

The government’s response to July’s review incorporated the following statement on clarity in relation to employment status:

‘Clarity in the gig economy: Platform-based working offers welcome opportunities for genuine two-way flexibility and can provide opportunities for those who may not be able to work in more conventional ways. These should be protected while ensuring fairness for those who work through these platforms and those who compete with them. Worker (or ‘dependent contractor’ as the review suggested renaming it) status should be maintained but we should make it easier for individuals and businesses to distinguish workers from those who are legitimately self-employed.’ 

The changes proposed in the review relating to employment status would represent the single largest shift in employment status since the Employment Rights Act in 1996. As the review stated, they will require further consultation and examination if they are to be successful. 

The government agrees that it should be easier for individuals and businesses to determine whether someone is an employee, a worker, or self-employed, and is committed to improving clarity and certainty in this area. This will include consideration of legislative options. The government also acknowledges that it needs to ensure that any reforms achieve their aim, and would not have unintended consequences – such as damaging genuine flexibility or creating opportunities for less scrupulous employers to game the system and gain an unfair competitive advantage.

The government will therefore consult to explore the best way to improve clarity for those on the boundary between employment and self-employment, including options for legislative reform. This will help ensure that fewer ‘workers’ find themselves fighting for protections that they should already have. It should be clear to a person whether he or she is employed – with rights to time off for sickness and entitlement to sick pay, holiday pay and other rights – or whether he or she is a contractor in which case onerous contractual terms that an individual could not meet, such as protection for sickness, should not be enforceable.

The consultation will look at employment status for both employment rights and tax, including considering the review’s recommendation for greater alignment between the two, in order to tackle this issue holistically.

Agency workers in the UK play a vital role in supporting delivery in a number of sectors and many people choose this highly flexible approach to work. However, the government acknowledges that some agency workers can find themselves in positions of vulnerability and so it is important that they receive enhanced protections.

Through the Agency Workers Regulations and the Employment Agencies Act 1973, agency workers already receive greater protections than many other casual workers, with some protections enforced by the state through the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (EAS). However, it is clear that changes in the labour market have put pressure on the current framework of protections.

The government wants to ensure that rules that protect agency workers reflect the challenges of the modern labour market and will consult on how best to achieve this.​

The UK register of foreign property-owning companies

(AF1, RO3)

Following consultation on government proposals for a new beneficial ownership register of overseas companies that own UK property, which closed in May 2017, the government confirmed in December 2017 a timetable for the introduction of such a register.

The register is a part of the UK’s anti-corruption strategy for years 2017-2022.  A draft Bill is expected to be published by Summer 2018 with the intention that a register will be operational by 2021.  Overseas legal entities (including corporations as well as trusts) will then be required to provide information on the beneficial ownership of property that they own or purchase in the UK.

Beneficial owners of UK companies are already required to be disclosed under the Persons with Significant Control (PSC) Regulations.  The government has estimated that more than £180 million worth of property in the UK has been investigated since 2004 on the grounds that the purchase proceeds came from suspected corruption.  It is also estimated that around three quarters of properties currently investigated engage in some form of offshore secrecy/tax avoidance/evasion.  Therefore, the purpose of the register is to reduce opportunities for money laundering and the purchase of UK property with dirty money. 

According to Land Registry data, some 97,000 properties in England and Wales were held by overseas firms as of January 2018, a quarter of them owned by entities registered in the British Virgin Islands (BVI).

Two-thirds of these properties are registered to firms in either the BVI or in Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man, while a significant number are owned by companies in Hong Kong, Panama and Ireland, according to an analysis by the BBC. 

Nearly half of all foreign-owned properties are in London, the Land Registry figures show. Its numbers are backed up by HMRC figures for the Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings. These show that nearly 80 per cent of the UK's corporately-owned residential property (whether foreign-owned or not) are in two London boroughs, Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea. About 6,000 properties in these boroughs are owned by foreign companies. Even Admiralty Arch is owned by a Guernsey company, it has emerged.

Apart from the money laundering/anti-avoidance aspects, the register would also potentially benefit tenants who would have the ability to obtain details of those with ultimate control of the property they occupy, rather than merely being told who is their “official landlord” on paper. 

The new requirements will apply only to leases of over 21 years and registration information will be kept at Companies House in the same way as for the PSC regime.

Given that the register of Persons with Significant Control has been in force for some time and given the above-mentioned statistics on the number of UK properties (in particular in London) being used in money laundering, it is surprising that it has taken so long to start this process and that it’s not going to be fully operational for at least another 3 years.  Nevertheless the progress in this area is welcome.

On-line conveyancing

Following public consultation in 2017 changes have been introduced to the land registration rules in England and Wales to come into effect from April 2018. 

The government has approved new regulations allowing HM Land Registry to accept digital conveyancing documents, such as mortgages and transfers authenticated by electronic signatures.  This, in effect, allows conveyancing transactions to be carried out entirely on-line.  To enable this to take place some changes were necessary to the Land Registration Rules 2003 and these have now been approved. As with all on-line transactions, the difficulty lay in the combination of the overall objective to use digital technology to make transactions simpler, faster and cheaper with the enhancement of the integrity and security of the registration process against threat from cyber-attacks and digital fraud. 

Under the new system e-signatures will be provided through the Gov.uk Verify service.  Conveyancing practitioners should be receiving, if they have not already done so, communications from HM Land Registry about the changes that affect the way applications to register land are submitted. 

There is no escaping from the progress of technology.  The legal bases for electronic signatures do of course exist in the UK.  The Electronic Communications Act 2000 confirms that electronic signatures are admissible in evidence although it does not go as far as providing that they have equivalent legal effect as wet ink signatures. The latter provision is in fact included in the EU legislative framework, namely Regulation (EU) No 910/2014, effective from July 2016, which provides that a qualified electronic signature has the equivalent legal effect as a handwritten signature. However, the EU Regulation also states that it is for national law to define the legal effect of electronic signatures. 

The effect of this is that at present in the UK, save where there are specific regulations dealing with this matter, such as the above-mentioned provisions for e-conveyancing, there is no general acceptance of e-signatures in place of wet ink signatures (as yet).

The question of electronic execution of documents frequently arises when discussing the process of setting up a trust, especially in the context of life policy trusts. 

Generally speaking, it is fairly common practice now for trust requests to be accepted by life offices during an on-line application process (ie. where the applicant proposes for life assurance cover using an on-line application process and at the same time requests that the policy be issued subject to a specified trust).  Under English law the problem is in the context of the execution of deeds, given that special requirements apply when a document needs to be executed by way of a deed.  In the context of trusts, where an existing life assurance policy is transferred into a trust it would normally be done by way of a deed.  Similarly, if additional trustees are appointed, this would be done by way of a deed. 

While there are some guidelines on the electronic execution of deeds issued by the Law Society, these are generally only followed where a solicitor is involved and the parties sign in the presence of a solicitor.  In all other cases, especially when using standard trust documents provided by life offices, electronic execution of such documents is yet to come.

Powers of Attorney and fee refunds

(AF1, JO3, RO3)

The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) has revised the process for dealing with refunds where the donor of a power of attorney has died.

We noted recently that the OPG had announced that it would refund part of the fee levied for registering a lasting power of attorney or an enduring power of attorney between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2017.

At the time the OPG website stated that if the donor had died then it would not be possible to claim online and that a claim had to be made by phone. By coincidence we had occasion to try the phone route. The predictable happened: a long queue, then cut off. A second call shortly afterwards generated a message to send in details by email, although the paperwork required was not specified.

The OPG has since changed its approach where the donor has died (which is probably quite a common situation). The OPG website now states that in such circumstances it will only accept a claim from the executor/administrator, who must supply photocopies of both the:

  • death certificate; and 
  • Will or the grant of representation (for example, a grant of probate or letters of administration).

The claimant must also supply their name, contact number, email address and postal address along with the donor’s name and, if known, case reference number.

These can all be posted or emailed to poarefunds@justice.gsi.gov.uk.

A Freedom of Information request from Old Mutual Wealth revealed that there is potentially a total of 1.8m refunds due, which begs the question of how the OPG ever thought a phone service was going to cope with demand.

Extension of offshore time limits: collecting lost tax from earlier years

(AF1, RO3)

On 19 February 2018 HMRC published a consultation on proposals to extend the time period over which it can go back and assess tax on undeclared offshore income, gains and chargeable transfers to a minimum of 12 years. This follows on from another time limit extension related to offshore non-compliance introduced by newRequirement to Correct’ (RTC) rules. A link to the latest consultation can be found below:
Extension of Offshore Time Limits

Current time limits and extension under the RTC rules 
The current time limits for ‘non-deliberate’ offshore tax non-compliance are normally four years and six years, as follows: 

  • For income tax and capital gains tax purposes HMRC can go back up to four years after the end of the tax year to which the loss of tax relates; six years if the loss of tax was brought about by ‘carelessness’. For example, HMRC has until 5 April 2022 to assess lost income tax from the 2017/2018 tax year; 5 April 2024 in a case of ‘carelessness’.
  • For corporation tax the time limits are four/six years after the end of the accounting period in question.
  • For inheritance tax, where payment has been made and accepted in full satisfaction of the tax due, the time limits are four/six years from the later of the date on which the (last) payment was made (and accepted by HMRC), and the date on which the tax or last instalment became due.


However, the time limit is 20 years from the date of the chargeable transfer where an inheritance tax account hasn’t been delivered, or tax payments haven’t been made and accepted.

HMRC can also go back 20 years in cases of loss of tax due to ‘deliberate’ behaviour. And it can go back to any year, without time limit, where an inheritance tax account hasn’t been delivered, or tax payments haven’t been made and accepted, and a loss of inheritance tax has been brought about deliberately.

In the case of deceased taxpayers, the time limit is four/six years from the end of the tax year in which the taxpayer died. However, HMRC can’t go back more than six years before the date of death, even where the loss of tax is due to deliberate behaviour or the failure of the deceased to notify chargeability.

The time limit extension under the RTC rules
The new RTC rules extended the time limits for assessing income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax, but not corporation tax, related to offshore non-compliance committed before 6 April 2017.

For tax non-compliance to be within scope of the RTC rule, HMRC must have been able to make an assessment to recover the income tax or capital gains tax in question on 6 April 2017 or make a determination to recover the inheritance tax in question on 18 November 2017 (the day after Royal Assent was received for the RTC provisions).

The normal assessing rules set out above apply to determine whether HMRC is able to raise an assessment on 6 April 2017 / 18 November 2017.

The RTC legislation then allows for a longer period for HMRC to take action to recover any tax that is subject to the RTC rule.

This means that for any tax that HMRC could have assessed on 6 April 2017, it will continue to be able to assess that tax until the later of 5 April 2021 and the date on which an assessment can be raised using the normal rules.

The new proposals
The consultation proposes a new 12 year minimum time limit for income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax and it asks if this new time limit should also apply to corporation tax. 

The 12-year time limit will apply to any year that is still in date for assessment when the new legislation comes into effect. It won’t apply to any year for which the time limit has expired before 6 April 2019.

Example 1
A taxpayer has underpaid income tax on offshore income due to careless behaviour for the tax year 2013/2014. 

Under the existing time limit rules, HMRC can assess that tax at any time up to 5 April 2021 (ie. six years after the end of the year of assessment plus the RTC extension).

However, the new 12-year time limit will apply from 6 April 2019, before that existing time limit has run out. HMRC will therefore be able to assess lost tax until 12 years after the end of the 2013/2014 year of assessment, ie. until 5 April 2026.

Example 2
A taxpayer has underpaid income tax on offshore income due to careless behaviour for the 2009/2010 tax year.

Under the existing time limit rules, HMRC could have assessed that tax at any time up to 5 April 2016 (six years after the end of the year of assessment). That time limit expired before the new 12-year time limit legislation comes into force on 6 April 2019 so is unaffected by this proposal. It is also unaffected by the RTC rules because the time limit for assessing the lost tax for 2009/2010 ended before 6 April 2017.

Note that the current 20-year time limits mentioned above are not expected to change.

Full details of the RTC rules, including the current time limits, are available here.

This consultation closes at 11:45pm on 14 May 2018, after which time the government will publish draft legislation (expected this summer) with a view to it taking effect from April 2019.

The Scotland's Income Tax changes confirmed

(AF1, AF2, JO3, RO3)

As we have previously explained, the move by the Scottish government in its December Budget to create five tiers of income tax hit an obstacle in the form of resistance from the Green Party. A compromise was reached and on 20 February Holyrood confirmed by 67 votes to 50 the new tax structure. As a reminder, for 2018/19 Scottish taxpayers will face the following tax bands:

Taxable Income

£

Band Name

Tax Rate

%

0-2,000

Starter

19

2,001-12,150

Basic

20

12,151-31,580

Intermediate

21

31,581-150,000

Higher

41

Over 150,000

Top

46


Note that:

  • These rates apply to non-dividend, non-savings income only;
  • UK-ex Scotland rates apply to dividend and savings income;
  • UK-ex Scotland tax bands apply to capital gains tax; and 
  • Scotland does not set NIC rates or limits, so there is now a £2,920 gap (£46,350 - £43,430) between the UK-wide Upper Earnings/Profits Limit (set in line with the UK ex-Scotland higher rate threshold) and the starting point for Scottish higher rate tax. The result is a marginal rate in that band for Scottish residents of up to 53% (41% + 12%).

One fascinating problem which has emerged is the transferable tax allowance for married couples and civil partners. Section 55B(2)(b) of the Income Tax Act 2007 makes it a requirement for eligibility that “the individual is not, for the tax year, liable to tax at a rate other than the basic rate, the dividend ordinary rate or the starting rate for savings”. While Scotland kept a 20% basic rate (which solves relief at source issues), it has slotted in a 21% intermediate rate above, starting at £12,151 of taxable income. How a Scottish intermediate taxpayer (rates set in Scotland) will be able to claim the transferable allowance (allowances set UK-wide) is furrowing a few brows in Holyrood and Westminster, according to weekend press reports.

In 2019 Wales will be able to set its own tax rates. Scotland is providing it with a useful insight into where the bear traps are located. 

The help to save scheme
HMRC has recently updated its policy paper on the Help to Save Scheme.  The Scheme is a new government saving scheme to support working people on low incomes to build their savings.

Basically it enables regular savers to deposit up to £50 a month over 4 years (so there is a maximum of £2,400) and receive up to £1,200 in tax-free bonuses.

At the end of 2 years, savers will get a 50% bonus based on the highest balance achieved.

Customers can carry on saving for another 2 years and get another 50% bonus on their additional savings.

The Help to Save scheme will be open to UK residents who are:

  • entitled to Working Tax Credit and receiving Working Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit payments or
  • claiming Universal Credit and have a household or individual income of at least £542.88 for their last monthly assessment period

Those living overseas who meet either of the above eligibility conditions can apply for an account if they are:

  • a Crown servant - or their spouse or civil partner
  • a member of the British armed forces - or their spouse or civil partner

The Help to Save scheme started with a trial in January 2018, rolling out in stages. It will be available to all those eligible from October 2018.

Review of the corporate intangible fixed assets regime

(AF2, JO3)

On 19 February HMRC and HM Treasury published a consultation on proposals to review the corporate intangible fixed assets regime, as promised in the 2017 Autumn Budget. A link to the latest consultation can be found here Review of the corporate Intangible Fixed Assets regime

The current regime
The term ‘intangible asset’ covers intellectual property, such as patents, copyrights, trademarks and know-how, as well as other assets with commercial value, such as agricultural quota, payment entitlements under the single payment scheme for farmers, franchises and telecommunication rights. The regime also applies to ‘goodwill’. Goodwill is broadly the value of an existing business’s reputation and customer relationships. 

The regime deals with tax reliefs and allowances available for these assets.

Generally, the asset must be created after 31 March 2002, or acquired from an unrelated party after that date, to come within the current regime.

This means that businesses are required to distinguish between their pre- and post- Finance Act 2002 assets.

Businesses have made representations to government that the lack of relief for pre-Finance Act 2002 intangible assets means the UK provides less generous tax treatment than some other major economies and that the 2002 boundary:

  • can lead to similar assets being treated in different ways without a clear justification;
  • introduces complexity and administrative cost into transactions, which can distort business decisions; and 
  • can produce unfair outcomes, such as the absence of relief where a pre- Finance Act 2002 intangible asset is brought into the UK from a newly-acquired foreign subsidiary.

Also, restrictions apply to tax reliefs on goodwill aimed at removing a tax incentive to structure an acquisition of a business as a trade and asset (including goodwill) purchase rather than a share purchase.

Businesses have reportedly said that this restriction is impacting the UK’s competitiveness in attracting mobile businesses and is leading companies to locate their intangible assets (and the economic functions associated with those assets) in jurisdictions that offer more generous tax relief.  

These are just two among several issues raised.

Full details of the intangible fixed asset regime are available here.

HMRC’s review
To inform its review, HMRC is asking for views and evidence on specific aspects of the regime. In response to the two issues mentioned above it has asked: 

  • What would be the impact (positive or negative) of allowing pre-Finance Act 2002 assets to come within the current regime?
  • To what extent could changes be made that might alleviate the reported problem around restrictions on tax relief for goodwill, in a way that still deals with the issues that motivated the government to restrict this relief in the first place?

This consultation closes 11 May 2018, after which time the government will publish draft legislation (in the second half of 2018) on any specific proposals that are adopted. That draft legislation will be subject to further consultation.

 INVESTMENT PLANNING

 Government borrowing data give the Chancellor a fair wind ahead of the spring statement 

(AF4, FA7, LP2, RO2)

January’s all-important government borrowing figures have put the Chancellor on course to undershoot the OBR’s Autumn Budget estimate for the 2017/18 deficit by a wide margin.

The government borrowing figures for January have just been released, giving us the last view of the UK’s finances before the Spring Statement on 13 March. The data cover ten months of the current financial year and crucially include the large inflow that comes from self-assessment payments in the first month of a new calendar year. The picture that emerges is much better than suggested by the Office for Budget Responsibility’s (OBR’s) projections issued in November, alongside the Autumn Budget.  Indeed, the headline on the OBR’s home page says “Strong receipts point to lower full year borrowing”.

The statistics for the month of January 2018 alone revealed a surplus of £10.0bn against an £11.6bn surplus for 2017, making it the second-highest surplus on record since monthly recording of net borrowing began in April 1993. The largest surplus – for January 2017 – owes its size to the tax due from the one-off surge in dividend payments in 2015/16, pre-empting George Osborne’s dividend tax reforms.

For the first ten months of 2017/18 Public Sector Net Borrowing (PSNB) amounted to £37.7bn, down £7.2bn on 2016/17, and the lowest year-to-date sum at this stage since 2008. Combined self-assessed income tax and capital gains tax payments received in the month were £18.4 bn, only £0.9 bn less than in January 2017. On the corresponding accrued basis, which is used in calculating the overall PSNB position, the January figure was just £0.1bn below last year’s. VAT payments were up 1.4% and NIC inflows up 4.4%, but most other income sources were little changed year-on-year. 

On the expenditure side, there was an overall increase in the month of £1.4bn over 2017. The OBR attributes the rise mostly to higher net social benefit spending and higher other current spending, ‘largely reflecting higher spending by the NHS’.

The OBR remains cautious about extrapolating the year-to-date figures, even though the biggest variable of January is now known. It says that timing self-assessment income is still a potential issue, because “It is possible that some of the strength in January reflected more people paying on time rather than a genuine surplus relative to forecast”.

What we can say at this stage is that to reach the OBR’s Autumn Budget projection of a £49.9bn deficit for 2017/18, the next two months will need to provide an overall deficit of £12.2bn. In 2016/17, that final pair produced a deficit of £0.9bn, which suggests that Mr Hammond might end the fiscal year with a deficit around £10bn less than the OBR forecast three months ago.

The recent news that the Chancellor has taken a vow of near silence for March’s Spring Statement may have its roots in these figures. He will be quite happy to sidestep the pressure to make announcements that would use up his unexpected windfall, especially given the uncertainties looming around Brexit negotiations in the months ahead.

PENSIONS

Consultation response - disclosure of costs, charges and investments in dc occupational pensions

(AF3, FA2, JO5, RO4, RO8)

The Government has published their Disclosure of costs, charges and investments in DC occupational pensions Consultation Response document and Statutory Guidance for trustees and managers of occupational schemes on cost and charge reporting. 

The draft Regulations consulted on were designed to:

  • introduce requirements for certain occupational schemes offering money purchase benefits to publish charge and transaction cost information, disclose this to members and others, and tell members where to find it; and
  • introduce requirements for the same schemes to provide information, if a member or a recognised trade union asks, about the pooled funds in which they are invested.

The consultation received a total of 46 responses to the consultation questions for organisations, from a varied mix of representative organisations throughout the industry.

Summary of key changes to the proposals

Disclosure of costs and charges

The Government have amended the coming into force date for changes to the annual benefit statement to be consistent with the new publicly available cost and charges information within the Chair’s statement.

They have also made some changes to the statutory guidance to address concerns raised on the accuracy of the data to be used in the production of the cost and charges illustration.

Investment Disclosure

They have changed the timing of required pooled investment information. The information provided:

  • must be available for all members to request from April 2019 (instead of the original proposal under which some members may need to wait until November 2019);
  • must be no more than six months old at the point of request, subject to certain conditions being met (rather than up to 19 months if linked to the annual report regulatory requirement); and
  • only one request can be made in a six month period.

In practice schemes may need to update their information at least twice a year, stakeholder feedback has suggested that this will be more useful to members without adding significantly to trustee burdens.

The Government have also amended the Regulations in a number of other areas to confirm the policy intention, and clarify the requirements.

Statutory guidance on cost and charge reporting

The regulations require trustees and scheme managers of certain occupational pension schemes offering money purchase benefits to, amongst other things:

  • provide an illustrative example of the cumulative effect of the pension scheme fund charge and transaction costs incurred by the member
  • publish this, along with other relevant information on a publicly available website free of charge – and tell members where it can be found

The guidance explains how the regulations should be met including examples of how the information can be displayed.

Overseas transfers

(AF3, FA2, JO5, RO4, RO8)

HMRC have updated their guidance on overseas transfer charge and the conditions that apply for the transfer charge to be applied or refunded.

Transfers- in to UK schemes from overseas schemes are gaining momentum. HMRC have also confirmed the positon for record keeping for overseas transfers-in: 

Transfers into your scheme
You don’t need to report transfers into your scheme, but HMRC might ask you for information about the pension savings you’ve received.

The scheme manager or scheme administrator transferring the pension savings to your QROPS will tell you if the overseas transfer charge applied and how much tax was paid. They’ll also tell you if the transfer wasn’t taxable and the reason why.

Keep this information for 5 tax years after the date of the transfer in case the scheme member’s circumstances change and overseas transfer charge needs to be paid or repaid.

Scottish rate of income tax - pension schemes newsletter February 2018

(AF3, FA2, JO5, RO4, RO8)

HMRC have published another newsletter following their last update in December 2017. This newsletter gives more details on the implications of these changes for pension tax relief and clarify how the mechanisms for providing that relief will operate in respect of Scottish taxpayers.

Points of interest

Relief at source vs Net pay contributions
Just as in England and Wales Net pay contributions are paid before tax so those paying contributions by this method will only get tax relief if they are a tax payer and it at the correct marginal rate. For relief at source contributions schemes will continue to claim relief at 20% in respect of these individuals, and HMRC will not recover the difference between the Scottish starter of 19% and Scottish basic rate of 20%. This will mean that those who are starter rate or nil tax payers would be better off paying contributions using the relief at source method. 

There are ongoing discussions about the best way to take this forward in 2019/20 so this may still change.

Relief at source regulations
The regulations The Registered Pension Schemes (Relief at Source)(Amendment) Regulations 2018 have been made and laid.

These regulations

  • make the annual return of individual information a statutory return from 6 April 2018 for pension scheme administrators operating relief at source, so HMRC will no longer issue information notices requiring them to submit this information;
  • introduce a 90 day deadline for scheme administrators to give HMRC information about excess relief claimed and allow HMRC to charge interest after this deadline on the excess amount;
  • reduce the time period for the filing of interim repayment claims (APSS105); and
  • retain the 5 October deadline for the filing of annual repayment claims (APSS106) 

Messages for members and payroll providers
The newsletter includes suggested wording to inform those impacted by the changes what is happening and how it will impact them.