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Pensions protection scheme deadline approaches

The start of a new fiscal year is fast approaching and with it comes an important deadline for any GP nearing retirement.

If you’ve built up a healthy pension pot, then Individual Protection 2014 (IP2014) is a scheme that could help you reduce, or avoid, a tax liability on your savings. But with an April 5 2017 deadline, time is running out to apply.

What is IP2014?

The lifetime pension allowance was reduced from £1.5 million to £1.25 million in April 2014, then lowered again in April 2016 to £1 million. Any pension savings above this level are taxed at a significantly increased rate.

Since reducing the lifetime limit could be seen as unfair to those who had already accrued large pension pots, IP2014 was introduced to enable such people to safeguard their pension savings and effectively ‘lock-in’ the higher lifetime savings allowance. However, IP2014 is not an automatic right and must be applied for. We understand that significant numbers of GPs who may benefit from IP2014 protection have not applied. The deadline for applying is 5 April 2017.

Are you affected?

If the total value of your pension benefits exceeded £1.25m as at 5th April 2014 you are potentially able to secure Individual Protection 2014. The calculation to perform is:

(NHS Pension x 20) + Lump Sum + Private Pension Fund Value

The problem is that this calculation requires information on valuations from the NHS Pensions Agency and the demands on their time are currently significant. Fortunately the required information should also be available online, but you would be well advised to check soon if you have not already done so as the tax savings can be significant.

Our recommendations

At DR Solicitors, we believe in always seeking expert advice from specialist advisers. We do not advise on tax or pensions, but we do stay current with all the various regulatory and commercial issues which may affect our clients.

If you are concerned about IP2014 or any other aspect of your pension planning you should always seek the advice of a specialist IFA or accountant who understands the intricacies of the NHS Pension Scheme. We are always happy to make introductions to our extensive network of primary care advisers including specialist accountants, surveyors, banks, IFAs and consultants.

For more information, please contact Nils Christiansen on 01483 511555 or email n.christiansen@drsolicitors.com