In the Summer Budget 2015, the Chancellor announced changes to the pensions annual allowance that are likely to have an effect on NHS Pension Scheme members.
Measures to restrict pensions tax relief will be introduced from 6 April 2016 with the introduction of a tapered reduction of the annual allowance for individuals with income over £150,000. The key points that you should be aware of include:
- The provisions reduce the annual allowance by £1 for every £2 that an individual’s adjusted net income exceeds £150,000, up to a maximum reduction of £30,000, resulting in only £10,000 of pensions annual allowance at income levels of £210,000 or above.
- Further restrictions can apply subject to timing of the drawing of multiple pension funds.
- As the NHS Pension Schemes are defined benefit schemes, individuals have to take into account the increased value of their pension over a period of time and not the superannuation paid into the NHS Pension Scheme. Doctors with relatively modest earnings may be caught under the new regime as the levels of income attributed to the calculations include amounts after employee pension contributions, the growth in the pension scheme, and all other income including investment income.
- Doctors in both the 1995/2008 Scheme and the new 2015 Scheme will have even further complexities to their calculation than previously and it is important the pensions annual allowance position continues to be reviewed on an annual basis.
- The use of estimated figures may be needed in order to ensure that individuals are made aware of any impending tax liabilities.
Threshold income – this is all earned and unearned income on which income tax is charged. It is at this point that relief for employees’ contributions is given. If the threshold income is more than £110,000 (ie £150,000 less the maximum annual allowance of £40,000), a second calculation will be required, adjusted income.
Adjusted income – this is threshold income plus adjustments for occupational personal pensions and includes the actual pension input amount for the year less any member contributions paid in the tax year.
The inclusion of a pension charge in the tax liability also 125,000 increases the taxpayer’s payments on account in the following tax year, although there is an option to request that the pension scheme pays the tax, subject to certain limits, conditions and deadline dates for the elections needed, (31 July 125,000 following the tax return deadline submission date).
This change in legislation will have a impact on large numbers of NHS Pension Scheme members. As a result, income tax planning is more important than ever. Consideration of the effects of your personal circumstances is necessary to ensure you plan accordingly.