Wealth Planning -
Pensions and changes to lifetime allowance explained
The lifetime allowance is the limit on the amount of pension benefits you can build-up over your lifetime while still enjoying the full tax benefits.
Changes to the lifetime allowance could have significant implications for wealth planning — particularly for higher-income earners. Here is what you need to know:
Pension changes announced in the Spring Budget and effective as of 4 April 2023:
- The annual allowance increased by 50%, from £40,000 to £60,000.
- The money purchase annual allowance has also increased to £10,000 from £4,000.
- The lifetime allowance charge (previously taxed at 55%) for pensions over £1,073,100 has been scrapped.
- Taxation of excess lump sums, including serious ill-health lump sums and death-related lump sums, has also been scrapped.
Pension changes announced in the Autumn Statement 2023
- The new basic state pension will increase by 8.5% to £221.20 per week (£11,502.40 per annum) with effect from 6 April 2024.
- Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said he would consult on a new pension ‘pot for life’ pension model, giving pension savers the right to have pension contributions paid into the pension of their choice.
What is the purpose of these changes?
These changes aim to encourage people to save more and work for longer. Ultimately, these changes have the potential to drive economic growth and increase funding into sectors such as healthcare.
Previously, charges and allowance limitations had acted as a deterrent for many well-paid, older earners to remain in the workforce for fear of facing an excessive penalty for exceeding the £1.07m threshold. Removing these barriers to later-life employment and saving means that more high-income workers will likely remain in the workforce.
These changes will be most felt by the UK’s top earners — namely, those able to save over £1.07m in their pensions — meaning the direct benefits and incentives will be felt by a small percentage of the country.
How does this impact wealth planning?
Understanding the annual and lifetime allowance changes is critical to effective future safeguarding and wealth planning. With limits increased and charges scrapped, this now means that it may be time to reconsider your pension contributions and savings distribution.
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