HMRC blunder suspends 432 QROPS in error

Published:  5 Jul at 6 PM
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Yet another blunder by HM Revenue and Customs has resulted in 432 QROPS being suspended for no good reason.

Providers of QROPS pension schemes across the world were left in confusion as their products suddenly disappeared from the official HMRC list without warning or reason. Financial advisors fielded worried calls and emails from clients, and providers desperately attempted to contact HMRC, which failed to comment for 24 hours after the incorrect list was published.

The reason behind the error has not yet been revealed, causing even more confusion as it’s now not known whether any specific QROPS is excluded, suspended or recognised. An embarrassed HMRC spokesperson called the error a glitch, saying an investigation was taking place and a new list would be published as soon as possible.

When pressed, the spokesperson said he could not specify when the new list would go live. Whilst QROPS scheme are missing from the official HMRC list, no funds can be transferred overseas by UK pension providers.

Analysts are saying that any scheme which applied for QROPS recognition since April last year seems to have been deleted. This list itself, published fortnightly, is an official database of schemes certified as meeting HMRC regulations.

This latest error is one in a line of issues concerning HMRC and QROPS, with another technical glitz in 2012 resulting in the publication in error of draft updated regulations for QROPS schemes. Last week, lawyers for HRMC indicated that a high-level review of QROPS was taking place due to a High Court challenge by 120 unhappy Singapore investors.

The investors are fighting an HMRC penalty tax demand on their pension transfers, saying that HMRC had failed to update them on their scheme’s status, thus allowing them to move their money illegally. Industry experts suspect the suspension of the 432 schemes is connected with the case.
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