View more on these topics

NHS staff’s annual allowance charges not paid by employer 90% of the time

Fewer than one in 10 NHS staff settle their annual allowance breaches through the scheme pays option where the employer meets the cost, according to wealth manager Quilter.

A Freedom of Information Request by Quilter shows that on average nearly 17,000 NHS staff breach the annual allowance on pension contributions each year.

But only 1,500 take advantage of the scheme pays option.

In 2014/15 when the annual allowance was cut to £40,000, nearly 21,000 staff in the NHS pension scheme breached the annual allowance, but fewer than 350 individuals asked the scheme to pay.

The gap means under 2 per cent took advantage of scheme pays in that tax year.

The annual allowance affects individuals savings into a pension and restricts the amount they can save tax free in any given year.

The annual limit was in excess of £250,000 as recently as 2010/11 but it has been cut dramatically and now stands at just £40,000.

Quilter points out public sector workers are particularly vulnerable because of their defined benefit pensions.

This is due to the way benefits accrued under a DB pension are calculated, and means NHS staff receiving a pay rise can easily see their pension contributions docked under an annual allowance tax charge.

This is particularly problematic for higher earners that are hit by the tapered annual allowance. It brings the maximum pension contribution before taxes apply to just £10,000 per year.

At the end of April, the British Medical Association wrote to chancellor Philip Hammond that doctors will start to reduce their working hours unless reforms are made to the NHS pension scheme.

Quilter pensions expert Ian Browne says: “The annual allowance is really complex anyway, and then when you add the tapered allowance on top things can get really muddy. It is the consequence of an intricately layered tax system that is in need of simplification.

“Anyone that may be affected by an annual allowance charge should think about seeing a financial adviser. They can help ensure you are making the most of your tax allowances and could save you huge sums.

“Likewise, the NHS should ensure it promotes the scheme pays option clearly as it seems thousands of eligible members may be unaware it even exists.”

He adds: “Public sector DB pensions are under all kinds of pressure at the moment, with separate legal cases from the British Medical Association, Firefighters and others claiming age discrimination against schemes that revised benefits down for younger members. If overturned, this could put great pressure on government, which has set aside £30bn to cover the cost already.

“Additional complications like processing scheme pays applications just add to the weight of pressure on public sector DB schemes.”

Recommended

neill macgillivray
11

Neil MacGillivray: Just how ‘unfair’ is doctors’ annual allowance hit?

Campaigners should tread carefully in calling for reforms for those in the NHS pension scheme Recent articles reporting the furore around the annual allowance and how it “unfairly” impacts individuals in public sector defined benefit schemes have piqued my interest. Adding fuel to the fire was news the British Medical Association is calling on the […]

Brooks Macdonald launches decumulation service

Brooks Macdonald has launched a decumulation service for clients in drawdown. The wealth manager said this aims to tackle challenges of drawdown – such as sequencing risk, the risk of low market returns at the time of withdrawing, with a “two-pot portfolio structure”. The service is for clients with a minimum of £500,000 to invest, […]

Question marks-confusion-puzzle
3

The FCA’s 24 questions to advisers on RDR and FAMR

The regulator has today documented its concerns for the advice industry and outlined its long-awaited call for input to assess the effectiveness of its most significant rules and regulations. Reviews of the Retail Distribution Review and the Financial Advice Market Review will be conducted jointly with the Treasury and under the FCA’s appeal to investigate […]

Managing customers in drawdown

By Lorna Blyth, Investment Marketing Manager Delivering a decent drawdown review process takes time and resources. This article looks at how you can manage drawdown clients in a more cost-effective way. Most advisers are seeing an increase in drawdown clients following pension freedoms. Often these are clients with lower fund sizes, which means advisers are […]

Newsletter

News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up

Comments

There are 3 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Terry Mullender 8th May 2019 at 12:09 pm

    The solution is very simple. Close all public sector defined benefit occupational pension schemes to future accrual and welcome public sector workers to the real world….

  2. The employer (NHS Trust) pays not the scheme?

    Is this because NHS scheme is unfunded?

    Usually the scheme pays and benefits are reduced.

    When it comes to treating customers fairly I don’t think parliament have done that when it comes to tapered AA.

    Firstly, effectively changing the T&C’s of pensions by applying it in the first place but then to restorspectively reduce it further.

    I’m sure the FCA would frown upon any product provider who treated it’s customers in such a way.

  3. Sorry, meant to say I was referring to MPAA when it comes to retrospective changes.

Leave a comment

Close

Why register with Money Marketing ?

Providing trusted insight for professional advisers.  Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and advice.

News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

Money Marketing Events
Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

Research and insight
Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

Have your say
Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

Register now

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm

Email: customerservices@moneymarketing.com