The British tax man has updated online advice about Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS).
Pages of detailed technical guidance for tax inspectors are accessible to the public as part of the Pensions Tax Manual.
The web site is still under development, but has nine sections about QROPS.
The information is HMRC’s interpretation of the tax rules for QROPS pensions and has no force in law.
The information covers:
- Introduction to QROPS – An overview of QROPS and how the offshore pensions work#
- What makes a pension a QROPS? – This section explains the ‘qualifying’ rules
- What does ‘recognised’ mean? – Details about qualifying as a recognised pension
- What is an overseas pension? – Explaining the rules for overseas pensions
- All about the official QROPS List – Why HMRC publishes a list of QROPS pensions and how retirement savers should use the list
- What happens when a QROPS is delisted – Explaining the process of delisting and losing QROPS status
- ‘Renotifying’ QROPS status – The rules scheme administrators must follow to tell HMRC that their pension is still a QROPS
- Reporting requirements for QROPS administrators – The information QROPS providers must give HMRC about their pensions and clients
- Reporting requirements for former QROPS – What providers whose pensions are delisted must tell HMRC
HMRC stresses that the manual is still at beta stage – which means the information may not be accurate and up-to-date.
Scathing criticism from High Court
The information upgrade is part of moving government web sites to a central digital home.
The HMRC QROPS List explains the importance of checking that a pension qualifies as a QROPS.
“HMRC can’t guarantee listed schemes are QROPS or that any transfers to them will be free of UK tax. It is a retirement saver’s responsibility to find out if they have to pay tax on any transfer of pension savings,” said an HMRC spokesman.
In recent years, HMRC has suffered scathing criticism of the standard and depth of QROPS information available to retirement savers considering transferring their UK pension funds to an offshore scheme.
One of the most prominent objections came from the High Court, which threw out a case bought by HMRC against retirement savers who had transferred cash to Singapore QROPS which were subsequently delisted.