Registration of pension schemes
Registration of pension schemes

The following Pensions guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Registration of pension schemes
  • Benefits of registration
  • Applications for registration
  • Conditions for registering a pension scheme
  • Requirement for a scheme administrator
  • Application process and declarations
  • HMRC review of application
  • Time period for HMRC review
  • HMRC decision to register the scheme
  • HMRC decision not to register the scheme and right of appeal
  • more

Benefits of registration

Registration provides advantageous tax reliefs and exemptions for a pension scheme and its members, including the following:

  1. tax relief on member contributions up to certain limits

  2. tax relief on employer contributions

  3. no liability to income tax arises in respect of earnings where an employer makes contributions under a registered pension scheme in respect of an employee

  4. certain lump sums paid to members on retirement (eg a pension commencement lump sum) or following a member's death will not be liable to income tax provided they are within the member's lifetime allowance

  5. most investment income is exempt from income tax

  6. gains from the disposal of scheme investments are exempt from capital gains tax

For this reason, the majority of pension schemes are registered pension schemes. Non-registered pension schemes, if they are occupational pension schemes, are treated as Employer Financed Retirement Benefit Schemes (EFRBS) for tax purposes.

Applications for registration

An application must be made in order to register a pension scheme. The application can only be made by the scheme administrator. For more information on the scheme administrator, see Requirement for a scheme administrator, below.

Up until 3 June 2018, applications had to be made by using the Pension Schemes Online service. On 4 June 2018, HMRC moved pension scheme registration services to a digital platform known as ’Managing