The following Pensions practice note produced in partnership with Sean McNulty of Blake Morgan provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
In practice, many Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPSs) are personal pension schemes or retirement annuities that are marketed for non-UK residents.
The main characteristic of a QROPS is that it is the only type of overseas arrangement into which a ‘recognised transfer’ can be made from a UK registered pension scheme. This limitation is embedded in the Finance Act 2004 (FA 2004) which defines, at s 169, a ‘recognised transfer’ as a transfer of sums or assets under a registered pension scheme to another registered pension scheme or a QROPS. For further information, see Practice Note: International pension transfers.
The transfer and consolidation of pension benefits is a key motivation for using a QROPS over any other type of overseas pension schemes.
Historically, QROPSs have been popular with UK expatriates because they are similar to a UK registered pension scheme, but without many of the investment constraints, regulatory requirements, currency risks and, until 6 April 2017, tax charges, applicable to such schemes.
The advantageous UK tax treatment of QROPS benefits had led to their abuse for tax-avoidance purposes, something which the government has increasingly clamped
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