Are you a UK citizen who holds an overseas pension scheme? Are you interested in investing in your pension above the usual UK limit? Are you aware of the Qualifying Non-UK Pension Schemes (QNUPS) introduced by HMRC in February 2010?
QNUPs are any form of overseas pension scheme that meet specific regulation set out by HMRC in order to be classed as a QROP. The schemes are available to both citizens permanently residing within or outside of the UK and can benefit them in a number of ways.
Firstly, QNUPs allow the holders of the scheme to invest considerably more than is usually permitted by UK law. This applies to both annual contributions and the overall limit of the fund size.
QNUPs are most popular amongst investors wishing to minimise (or even eliminate) the amount of inheritance tax payable on the value of the policy.
For the scheme to be deemed a QNUPS it must meet a number of guidelines set out by HMRC. The investor must be a UK resident when any pension assets are transferred to the scheme, or have been a UK resident in the previous five years. The scheme must only pay out after the holder reaches retirement age (which is the same retirement age as would apply in the UK) and it must be recognised by the tax authorities in the jurisdiction it is held.
QNUPs are potentially beneficial for expatriates who reside outside of the UK but are domiciled in the UK for tax purposes.
It is worth noting that HMRC will pursue any tax liabilities that arise by individuals transferring pension funds to overseas policies that do not meet the stringent criteria and guidelines.