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Sipp audit as Revenue gets tough on rules

The Inland Revenue is planning to audit self-invested personal pensions as part of a crackdown on investments that may breach its strict rules on pension funding.

The Revenue has had the power to audit Sipps for the past three years but has so far not taken any action. It is now keen to make sure that the tax breaks Sipps enjoy are not being flouted and that scheme reports are being filed accurately.

Investments in commercial property are understood to be of concern, particularly in cases where investors rent the property back to themselves.

The Sipp Provider Group is meeting with the Revenue next week to discuss the audit process.

SPG chairman Martin Cadman says: “There are certain things that the Revenue sees as high-risk, such as property which is rented back to the member, so it may look at risk investment profiling. It was inevitable the Revenue would want some kind of monitoring system to make sure that the tax rules are not abused.”

An Inland Revenue spokeswoman says: “Sipps enjoy generous tax relief and so it is important we protect the integrity of the schemes and make sure they comply with their obligations. We are in discussions with the industry to agree an appropriate regime.”

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