Clause 9 - Liability of Scheme Administrator for Annual Allowance Charge

Part of Finance (No. 2) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:25 am on 14 December 2021.

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Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Financial Secretary to the Treasury 9:25, 14 December 2021

Clause 9 extends the reporting and payment deadlines so that an individual can ask their pension scheme to settle their annual allowance tax charge of £2,000 or more from a previous tax year by reducing their future pension benefits in a process known as scheme pays. The annual allowance limits the amount of UK tax relieved pension savings that an individual can benefit from in the tax year. If an individual’s pension savings exceed the annual allowance, a tax charge is applied. The tax charge recoups the excess tax relief that the individual has already received.

Scheme pays was introduced to help individuals pay an annual allowance charge in their current tax year where certain conditions are met. The unlawful age discrimination found in the 2015 public sector pension reform known as McCloud, which I will come on to in clause 11, highlighted a need for scheme pays to be available also for previous tax years from when an annual allowance tax charge arises. The changes made by clause 9 extend the date by which an individual can ask their pension scheme to pay an amount of their annual allowance tax charge. That means that where the charge arises because of a change of facts and the charge is £2,000 or more, the scheme pays facility is now another option for the individual to pay their tax charge.

The changes made by clause 9 also extend the date by which the pension scheme administrator must report and pay an annual allowance tax charge to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs using the accounting tax return. The extended date applies where the charge has arisen because of a change of facts about an individual’s pension savings. The date for reporting and paying the charge relates to when the scheme administrator is notified of the charge by the individual, following a change of facts rather than a fixed period after the end of the tax year. That means that the scheme pays facility is now available to individuals for their annual allowance tax charge from an earlier tax year.

Amendment 11 seeks to reduce the relevant time for a scheme to notify individuals from six years to five years and nine months. Unfortunately, that would mean that if an individual were notified more than five years and nine months after the tax year, scheme pays would not be available. The individual would, however, still be liable to the tax charge, leaving them to pay it out of their own pocket. I therefore urge the Committee to reject amendment 11.

In summary, clause 9 provides for scheme pays to be an option for individuals to have their pension scheme pay their annual allowance tax charge for a previous tax year where the conditions are met.