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Pension Tax Relief Limits

Annual Allowance and Lifetime Allowance

Standard employee contributions and any Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) to a UK pension scheme attract tax relief at your highest marginal rate of income tax.

When you retire and take your retirement benefits, you can take part of those benefits as a tax-free lump sum.  However, your pension income is taxed as earned income under Pay As You Earn (PAYE).

From April 2006 the annual and lifetime growth of pension benefits which qualify for tax relief have been restricted by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) via the Annual Allowance and Lifetime Allowance.  Additionally, Tapered Annual Allowance was introduced from 5 April 2016 which effectively reduces the Annual Allowance for high earners. 

Pension Savings Statement

The pension schemes will release a Pensions Saving Statement if the scheme estimate that you have exceeded the Annual Allowance in a tax year.  The regulatory deadline for a scheme to produce a Pensions Saving Statement is the beginning of October following the end of the applicable tax year. 

Mitigation of pension tax charges (Carry Forward and Individual Protection 2016)

Unused Annual Allowance from the previous 3 tax years can be carried forward to mitigate an Annual Allowance Tax Charge.

You do not need to notify the HMRC if the unused Annual Allowance from the previous 3 years fully mitigates a tax charge.  

Lifetime Allowance funds from £1 million to £1.25 million as at 6 April 2016 can be protected by applying for Individual Protection 2016.  

Notifying HMRC of a tax charge payable

You can notify the HMRC of a tax charge payable via a Self Assessment Tax Return (SATR). The amount payable should be included in the HMRC SA101 Additional Information Form.

Scheme Pays

If the Annual Allowance Tax Charge is more than £2,000 an individual can elect for the Pension Scheme to pay an Annual Allowance tax Charge via Scheme Pays

Your responsibilities

Calculating if an Annual Allowance Tax Charge applies to you once you have utilised any unused Annual Allowance from the previous 3 tax years (Carry Forward) is your responsibility. 
The information provided on this website does not constitute the provision of financial advice by UCL. 

Independent Financial Advice

Information about where you can obtain Independent Financial Advice is available here.

Pension Scheme Information