- Invalid pension scheme loan gave rise to unauthorised payment charge to HMRC (Bella Figura Limited v HMRC)
- What are the practical implications of this case?
- What was the background?
- What did the FTT decide?
Pensions analysis: Bella Figura was bought by Mr Wightman in January 2008 and its shares were 100% owned by him and his wife. They also owned another company, Falken Limited. In 2010, the Bella Figura pension scheme was set up with Bella Figura as its sponsoring employer and scheme administrator. Shortly afterwards, Pension Practioner.com Limited (PPCL) was appointed as Bella Figura’s pension practitioner. Three separate loans totalling £450k were made between late 2010 and early 2012 to Bella Figura and Falken. The appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) concerned mainly whether the loan to Bella Figura was an unauthorised payment. The FTT ruled that it was an ‘unauthorised employer payment’. James Quarmby a partner at Stephenson Harwood LLP in London, comments on what lessons can be learned from this case and considers the implications for pensions lawyers.
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