If the total value of your pension benefits exceeds the “Lifetime Allowance” the excess benefits will be subject to a tax charge of up to 55%. For the 2018/19 tax year the Lifetime Allowance is £1,030,000 but it may be possible to keep a higher lifetime allowance if one of the forms of protection is applied for:
- Individual Protection 2016 (IP2016) – available to those with total pension savings greater than £1 million on 5th April 2016. IP2016 will allow those individuals meeting certain criteria to fix their lifetime allowance at the value of their pension fund as at 5th April 2016, with the maximum protection being £1.25 million. Pension funding can continue but further funding is likely to be subject to a lifetime allowance charge.
- Fixed Protection 2016 – doesn’t require a minimum fund value but is aimed at those who expect their pension funds to exceed £1 million at retirement. It fixes the individual’s lifetime allowance at £1.25 million but doesn’t allow any further pension funding after 5th April 2016.
There are, however, a limited number of situations where individuals may have a personal lifetime allowance that is higher than the standard lifetime allowance. For example, if someone has primary protection, fixed protection or they are have received a ‘qualifying’ pension credit on divorce.