Employment Tax

Qualifying conditions for registering a pension scheme

Produced by Tolley in association with John Hayward
  • 30 Mar 2022 08:51

The following Employment Tax guidance note Produced by Tolley in association with John Hayward provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Qualifying conditions for registering a pension scheme
  • Registered pension schemes
  • Introduction to the registration process
  • The pension scheme registration process (pre-October 2013)
  • The pension scheme registration process (from October 2013)
  • No registration through a dormant company
  • Master trusts to be authorised
  • Registered pension scheme Administrator
  • Eligibility for participation in a registered pension scheme
  • Brexit

Qualifying conditions for registering a pension scheme

Registered pension schemes

Before 6 April 2006, the framework of occupational pensions and personal pensions, etc generally relied upon the discretionary approval of HMRC. This system of approval operated even before the previous occasion of pensions tax reform in 1970.

Reforms introduced in FA 2004 replaced that system with a statutory framework associated with registered pension schemes. Now there is no compliance check on registration but HMRC can check that all the relevant conditions have been satisfied at a later date.

According to the HMRC Registered Pension Schemes Manual (RPSM):

“A registered pension scheme is a pension scheme that is registered with HMRC. It qualifies for special tax privileges not available to pension schemes that are not registered.”

The RPSM has been superseded by the Pensions Tax Manual (PTM).

The content in PTM031100 tells us that:

“...broadly the pension scheme must:

  1. 1)

    be set up by someone with permission from the Financial Conduct Authority to set up either a personal or stakeholder pension scheme, unless the scheme is an occupational pension scheme or a public service pension scheme

  2. 2)

    have a scheme administrator that is resident in an EU member state or in a European Economic Area (EEA) state which is not a member of the EU, and is a fit and proper person to be a scheme administrator, and

  3. 3)

    be set up and maintained for the sole or main purpose of providing authorised pension and lump sum benefits.”

The (now archived) content from the RPSM gave a little more detail in

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