Member and employer pension contributions—tax relief
Produced in partnership with Wyn Derbyshire of gunnercooke LLP
Member and employer pension contributions—tax relief

The following Pensions guidance note Produced in partnership with Wyn Derbyshire of gunnercooke LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Member and employer pension contributions—tax relief
  • Member contributions to registered pension schemes
  • Tax treatment of member contributions in specie
  • How is income tax relief claimed in respect of member contributions?
  • Employer contributions to registered pension schemes—tax relief from employer’s perspective
  • Employer contributions to registered pension schemes—tax relief from member’s perspective
  • Employer contributions made during the employment relationship
  • Employer contributions made on termination of the employment relationship
  • Tax charges derived from excess contributions
  • Migrant relief

This Practice Note focuses on the different forms of tax relief (whether income tax relief, national insurance contribution relief or corporate tax relief) available in respect of member and employer contributions paid to registered pension schemes. This Practice Note also looks at the different ways in which a member can claim income tax relief on member contributions and the tax treatment of employer contributions made on termination of the member’s employment.

For information on the wider tax treatment of pensions, see Practice Note: Tax treatment of pensions—an introduction.

Member contributions to registered pension schemes

Section 188 income tax relief

One of the principal attractions of registered pension schemes is the income tax relief available to members in respect of the contributions they (or a third party on their behalf) may pay to such schemes.

This tax relief (which is provided for under the Finance Act 2004, s 188) has the following characteristics:

  1. conditions. It is only available if the following conditions are satisfied:

    1. the member in question is under age 75

    2. the contributions are paid while the member is an active member of the registered pension scheme, and

    3. either:

      1. the member has relevant UK earnings, ie employment income (eg a salary or bonus) and other forms of income (eg income derived from carrying on or exercising a