HMRC has released its latest pensions newsletter, issue 119, which incorporates a number of key areas in pension administration and re-enforces and updates the coronavirus administration discussed int eh previous issue. The newsletter includes a variety of subjects and here we look at each area at a high level.

Temporary changes to pension processes as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19)

a. Re-employment in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

HMRC have been contacted about the potential loss of protected pension age in certain circumstances where individuals currently in receipt of pension benefits, are re-employed in relation to coronavirus and as such, the newsletter reviews the subject.

b. Pension scheme returns for 2019 to 2020

Due to pension scheme administrators experiencing difficulties in getting the valuations that they need so that they can complete their pension scheme returns. To help with this HMRC have decided not to issue any notices to file pension schemes returns for 2019 to 2020.

c. Benefits crystallisation event 1 and valuing sums and assets held within a registered pension scheme

A review and update for scheme administrators facing challenges valuing the sums and assets held within the scheme, to test these against the lifetime allowance under benefits crystallisation event 1 (BCE1).

d. Other pension scheme valuations

2. Pension flexibility statistics

The quarterly release of official statistics on flexible payments from pensions for the period 1 January 2020 to 31 March 2020 has now been published.

3. Registration statistics

For 2019 to 2020 HMRC received in total 1,818 applications to register new pension schemes. This is a 6% reduction compared to applications received in 2018 to 2019. Of these schemes, 77% have been registered and HMRC has currently refused registration for about 12% of applications. No decision has yet been made on the remainder. Since 2012 to 2013 HMRC has seen an 88% decrease overall in the number of applications to register pension schemes.

4. Annual allowance calculator

Updating the annual allowance calculator to reflect the changes to threshold income, adjusted income and the minimum tapered annual allowance for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

5. Managing pension schemes service – timeline update

6. Unauthorised payments – operating the mandating procedure

A reminder to scheme administrators that they can find guidance on how to operate the mandating procedure correctly, in cases of unauthorised member payments, in the Pension schemes and unauthorised payments guide.

7. Gibraltar and the overseas transfer charge

Updating due to the uncertainty about whether the overseas transfer charge applies to transfers made to Gibraltar since the UK exited the European Union (EU).

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