UK Pensions & QROPS

United Kingdom & other Overseas Pensions

If you have ever worked in the UK or in Australia / New Zealand during your career you may have built up a pension fund or two.

If you would like to move these pension benefits back to Ireland, you can move them into what is called a ‘Qualified Recognised Pension Scheme.’

A Qualified Recognised Pension Scheme (QROPS) is a pension scheme which can receive a transfer of UK (and other overseas countries) Pension Benefits free of tax.

If you plan to remain in Ireland permanently you may wish to move your pension benefits from one or more of these countries back to Ireland.

Keep in mind that there are some basic rules to consider when moving such pensions across to Ireland.  The information below refers to UK Pensions Transfers only, as each country have different QROPS rules. For more information on other overseas pension transfers, please call us on (01)8570655

Some benefits of a QROPS:

  1. Convenience – It makes it easier if you are planning to retire in Ireland. If you leave your pension benefits in the UK, you will have to submit an annual tax return in Ireland in retirement declaring your income from the UK.
  2. Greater control over your pension investment.
  3. Inheritance planning – On death UK Pension Schemes generally only provide a pension income for a dependant. There is no lump sum on death available. There is also an issue with inheritance to family members if none of the family are resident in the UK and you still hold the UK Pension Scheme.
  4. Allows for a consolidation of your overseas pension benefits in Ireland without incurring tax
  5. Transfers from a UK pension do not form part of your Standard Fund Threshold in Ireland, which means that it can grow without effecting your maximum allowable pension fund.
  6. By moving your pension scheme to Ireland (in Euros), you remove the risks that currency exchange rate changes in Sterling could have on your monthly pension income in retirement.

What are the tax implications when I drawdown my benefits from a QROPS?

  • Once you haven’t been resident in the UK for the previous ten tax years (when you retire) there is no immediate tax liability. However, QROPS providers must report all payments from QROPS made within ten years of the original transfer regardless of residency status.

I have been a tax resident in the UK in the last ten UK tax years:

  • You can transfer your benefits into a QROPS and keep your pension invested.
  • Once you have ceased to be a UK resident for ten full tax years or more (and are 55 or older), you can draw down your pension benefits & the payments should avoid UK tax charges.
  • You would be subject to a UK unauthorised payment charge from HMRC if you draw down your benefits before the ten year qualifying period.

I haven’t been a tax resident in the UK for the last ten UK tax years:

  • If you haven’t been a tax resident in the UK for the last 10 years then there is no UK tax implications for transferring or withdrawing benefits from the QROPS buy out bond.
  • You can access your benefits on retirement from the age of 55.

Reporting Obligations to HMRC:

  • The QROPS providers in Ireland have a reporting obligation to inform HMRC of any payments made within 10 years of the start date of your QROPS Personal Retirement Bond. However, there are no UK tax implications once you satisfy the residency test i.e been resident outside of UK for 10 full tax years at the time of draw down of your benefits.

In most cases, a client would move this UK Pension Scheme into a QROPS Personal Retirement Bond (also known as a Buy Out Bond). This is a pension bond in your own name and you have full control of the investment choices for your funds.

How does a QROPS affect my Tax Free Lump Sum?

  • The tax free lump sum you claim from your QROPS forms part of your lifetime limit in Ireland.
  • It will be included in your €200,000 tax free lump sum limit (and optional €300,000 taxable lump sum taxed at the standard rate of tax).
  • If your total pension fund at retirement exceeds €800,000 (between your UK & Irish pensions), the excess in the lump sum over €200,000 would be taxed in Ireland at 20%, where it could be tax free in the UK.

I have a Defined Benefit pension. Can I still transfer it?

  • Yes it is possible to transfer it. Your pension provider in the UK will calculate a fund value if you would like to transfer the pension elsewhere.
  • If your UK Pension Scheme is a defined benefit scheme with a fund value over £30,000 a report will be required from a UK registered Independent Financial Adviser to stress test and sign off the move to Ireland. We can put you in touch with a registered adviser in the UK.

I want to transfer my UK pension to Ireland. What’s the next step?

  • Call us on (01)8570655
  • Request a call back from a pensions advisor using the form below.
  • Click on the Online Chat icon at the bottom right of the screen to start a conversation.
  • We’ll help you with the paperwork required from your UK provider & the UK tax authorities (HMRC) & the providers in Ireland.

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Sure Financial Ltd t/a Irish Pensions is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.


Irish Pensions

Parkside 11, Mulhuddart, Dublin 15.

(01) 8570655