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UK Pensions

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For those who have lived and worked in the UK, and who now call New Zealand home permanently, the question of whether to bring UK pensions to this country often comes up.

The rationale for wanting to bring your UK pensions to NZ varies, and may include tax and administration efficiencies (including limiting potential exposure to UK inheritance taxes), currency considerations, ensuring funds are invested in line with your financial strategy as well as future flexibility and preservation of funds for your estate.

Every UK pension scheme and person is different. So, while a general understanding of the key issues is useful, it is important to get personalised advice from an authorised financial adviser to help you make an informed decision. It is important you understand the risks and benefits associated with a UK pension transfer.

Tax is an important part of any UK Pension transfer decision, and it is important to understand how tax will be imposed on both sides of the transaction. NZ currently has a 48-month transitional residency exemption for new arrivals or for returning Kiwis who have lived outside NZ for 10 years or more. The 48-month transitional residency exemption provides a transfer window from the first day a person becomes a New Zealand tax resident, as they may be able to transfer their pension to NZ without any NZ tax obligations. Pension transfers after this date could still be eligible for NZ tax relief.

Those under age 55 or those with a Defined Benefit pension, will likely be required to transfer funds into a Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (‘ROPS’). A ROPS is an overseas pension scheme that HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) recognises as eligible to receive transfers from registered pension schemes in the UK. To qualify as a QROPS the scheme must meet the requirements set by the HMRC.

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