QROPS Back to Business As Usual
Despite claims in other publications about a fall off in the number of QROPS this month and linking it to the ROSIIP QROPS case in Singapore, HMRC have informed QROPS trustees that it is business as usual. HMRC have confirmed that no schemes were removed and a corrected list will be uploaded on the website shortly.
You can view the full QROPS list here.
HMRC recently were handed a defeat trying to charge a 55% unauthorized tax charge on British expats who had transferred their pensions to a QROPS in Singapore under the Panthera ROSIIP (Recognised Overseas Self-Invested International Pensions) in Singapore.
Transfers of UK pension savings can be made free of UK tax if transferred to a pension scheme that is a qualifying recognised overseas pension scheme (QROPS). As ROSIIP had notified HMRC in 2006 that it met the conditions to be a QROPS, it appeared on a list published on the HMRC website along with other pension schemes that had similarly notified HMRC. In 2011 the High Court found that ROSIIP had never been a QROPS and this was upheld in 2012 in the Court of Appeal. However, this was overturned in the UK and British expats’ rights to a transfer were protected. Their QROPS was allowed to stand free of tax and no penalties were incurred. In fact, HMRC had to pay for ALL of their court fees which is highly unusual. Such a climb down was a clear victory for the British expatriates who had transferred their UK pensions in good faith.
HMRC publishes a list of QROPS on their website, but appearing on the list does not mean a QROPS has been approved. Conversely, removal from the QROPS list also does not mean that a QROPS has been excluded. The UK judge slammed HMRC for its lack of transparency with regards to what a tax paying citizen can clearly find out with regards to approved QROPS.
Whether a QROPS appears on HMRC’s list is still the best indication of whether a Qualfying Recognized Overseas Pension Scheme will be approved by the Inland Revenue or not. If in doubt, please contact QROPS Specialists and use QROPS trustees which have been around for a long time who know the rules such as Sovereign, Brooklands, Boal & Co. and STM.