Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS) are annuity based in offshore financial centres, which offers investment opportunities and tax break that are often unavailable in the UK based retirement savers.
QROPS helps the NRIs to ensure that their retirement fund accumulated in the UK can be transferred to India in a tax-effective and seamless manner. Before the expats leaving the UK had to pay huge taxes while transferring their pension funds to anywhere in the country. HMRC (Her Majesty Revenue & Customs), a UK based regulator responsible for tax collection recognised this gap and introduced a Qualifying Recognized Overseas Pension Scheme to help the expats leaving the UK in the process of fund transfer.
QROPS is similar to the UK registered pension scheme, which allows PIOs and NRIs to receive annuity benefit in their new country of residence. Besides being a tax-effective method for the transfer of annuity funds, it also offers the flexibility to choose products as per one’s requirement. QROPS is very beneficial for individuals who are moving out of the country and in a short time has become a popular option of fund transfer.
Here are some of the benefits of QROPS Pension
Before it was mandatory to use 75% of the British Pension Pod to purchase an annuity that offers guaranteed income for a lifetime. The drawback was it yields lower returns, subject to income tax and when the expat dies, the pension fund dies with them. However, by transferring the UK pension into QROPS, this issue is avoided and in case of demise, the fund that has not been used to provide an annuity to the annuitant is passed onto the dependents of the family.
In QROPS, transferring fund to the beneficiary is generally faster, easier and less stressful. Along with the benefit of seamless fund transfer, the QROPS is also tax efficient.
Many QROPS offers up to 25% as a tax-free lump-sum.
The UK pension will subject to the death tax, if an expat is a resident overseas and if it is established by HMRC that Britain was the country regarded as home at the time of death. A tax charge of 45% will be levied as the UK pension fund is passed on to the beneficiary. However, this charge does not apply to QROPS, where the accumulated fund can be transferred to the beneficiary free from tax at the source.
If an NRI residing in the UK for five years transfer their UK pension into QROPS they can take advantage of significantly more flexible income draw-down rules. On UK pension, the draw-down amount is computed using the Government Actuarial Department (GAD) rates. These rates are currently very low. With QROPS, the jurisdiction rules allow the trustees to use different computation than the UK GAD. This can allow the income to be up to 50% more than the UK pension. Moreover, in QROPS the UK income taxes are also avoided, which generally ranges 20%-50% depending on how large the fund is.
In many countries, lower taxes are imposed on income as compared to the UK; including the pension scheme. An individual can therefore receive income from the retirement fund at considerably lower rates depending on where they live.
Thus, by transferring the UK pension to QROPS a higher income and considerably more comfortable retirement can be achieved.
While transferring UK pension to QROPS, the advisors clearly outline the applicable charges so the NRIs have the clarity where their money is invested. On contrary to this, the UK charges are usually percentage-based whereas, QROPS enjoy fixed fees.
With QROPS, an individual can consolidate any number of UK pension funds to one fund to manage it easily. This allows the investors to gain from improved investment choice, maximize growth and save on overall charges. Moreover, it eases the process of fund management as the individual has one point of contact l the retirement provisions.*All savings are provided by the insurer as per the IRDAI approved insurance plan. Standard T&C Apply
The fees applicable for setting up and managing the QROPS can vary widely. With over a thousand schemes available on market, which comes with different options and offers different services suggesting a figure can be misleading.
Types of Applicable Charges can be:
Thus it is significant to choose a regulated, international, and whole of the market advisory; that will separate the charges so that the individuals can see exactly where their money is invested exactly. QROPS is comparatively less expensive. Thus, as per the requirement, the schemes can be used for as little as €355.
Let’s take a look at the process to transfer the UK pension to QROPS. These timelines can vary and depends on how fast the information is given to the financial advisor by the existing pension provider.
The individual will need to submit an enquiry.
The advisor will send a letter of authority to complete so that they can communicate with the current pension provider on your behalf.
The expat will need to send an email or fax the letter of authority and send the original. The existing pension provider of the expat will be contacted to confirm the value and check whether the pension fund is eligible for transfer or not.
The expat will need to choose the jurisdiction with the financial advisor and complete the application forms. A discharge form will be sent to the existing pension provider and an application form is sent to the chosen QROPS provider.
In the final step, the pension is transferred into QROPS providing the tax-efficient income in the currency of choice of the expat and an extensive range of investments to choose from.