HMRC muddying QROPS waters on suspicion of dodgy jurisdictions

Published:  28 Apr at 6 PM
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News reports originating in the Gibraltar media suggest Britain’s HM Revenue and Customs department is planning to demand reaffirmation from registered jurisdictions that they are complying with UK legislation.

The latest HMRC list of QROPS providers came out at the beginning of this week, unusually unannounced by the authority. Five new pensions were added, bringing the total to 937 and none were delisted. The previous list of self-certifying pension providers, published on April 18, deleted nine jurisdictions and 410 pensions, with one jurisdiction added. In spite of receiving all the required confirmations, HMRC is insisting all jurisdictions repeat their compliance with the rules, indicating suspicions some providers have wrongly signed off.

The list is to be suspended again on June 2, with a new list published three days later, and HRMC has made no comments to date about its reasons for the extra activity. Whatever the authority’s motivation, its actions are not helping retirement savers planning to transfer their pension pots to a QROPS, as HMRC will not provide details of jurisdictions and their status providers.

Due diligence undertaken at present only means the chosen scheme is compliant right now, but does not guarantee its compliance between now and early June. The authority is not giving any details as to whether penalties will apply to transfers made after May 18 and before June 5, should the selected product be found non-compliant. Transfer penalties begin at a hefty 55 per cent of the total value of contributions attracting tax relief which are switched to a QROPS, a significant sum for many pension savers. Also, it’s possible that UK pension cash may be transferred to a QROPS scheme which ends up being deleted.

Reports are now calling into question the manner in which the authority handles QROPS, with the latest list suspension only forwarded to professional agents as part of a regular pension newsletter rather than to consumers and the general media as well. HMRC’s notes can be found online, should those considering a transfer know where to look. Despite the mass delisting on April 18, HRMC’s website has not yet been updated to show the changes. The best that confused expat retirees can hope for is that their IFAs are fully up to date on the issue.

Source: iExpats, Gibraltar News,
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