The current tax year has been a transitional one on the pension front. It has seen the annual allowance reduced by 20% to £40,000 and the lifetime allowance cut by a sixth to £1.25m. There has also been a raft of temporary transitional provisions introduced ahead of the new regime for 2015/16 onwards.
The key area to consider for both this and next tax year is whether to make some one-off contributions. There has been much political discussion about changing tax relief on contributions:
- The Labour Party has said that it will reduce higher rate tax relief on contributions to fund job creation. More details should soon emerge in their manifesto.
- The Liberal Democrats, and in particular the current Pensions Minister, Steve Webb, are considering a single flat rate of relief on pension contributions between 20% and 30%.
- The Conservatives have made no announcements, but a leading think tank closely associated with the party has also proposed moving to a flat rate relief system.
Income tax relief on pensions cost £27.9bn in 2012/13, with another £15.2bn cost for national insurance contribution relief on employer’s contributions, according to HMRC. Given the current state of government finances, any post-election Chancellor could be tempted by such low hanging fruit.
If you wish to make large pre-emptive pension contributions, please contact us as soon as possible. Maximising contributions can require a considerable amount of data to be collected, which takes time.