Full Flexi-Access Drawdown is Now Allowed for QROPS in Malta
Flexible drawdown or flexi-access drawdown, also known as new drawdown is now allowed for QROPS in Malta. This is great news for British expats moving abroad who want full access to their pensions, often at a reduced rate of tax.
A Malta QROPS has no tax on death and often has lower rates of income tax depending on your country of residence at retirement and the Double Taxation Agreement it has with Malta.
Malta is the first Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (ROPS, formerly QROPS) which will allow UK style “full flexible drawdown access” of their pension schemes.
A UK pension scheme allows full flexible drawdown access as well, but there is one big difference….. in the UK, if you drawdown your pension, you will pay your highest rate of income tax in the UK and some companies are charging high fees to exit as well. Something which HMRC is trying to clampdown on with a cap.
In Malta, if there is a Double Taxation Agreement with your country of residence, you get taxed on the income in that country. That could mean paying less income tax or zero in certain jurisdictions.
This has opened the door to many schemes to simply amend their trusts to allow full access to British savers’ pensions abroad.
This is particular beneficial for British expats moving to Portugal, Singapore and Bahrain, who can now cash in their pensions and pay zero income tax.
Any British expats in most places in Europe will often just pay local income taxes which has the potential to be lower than any income tax they might pay in the UK.
British expats moving to Canada and Canadians moving back to Canada, if they move their pensions to Malta will have their pensions capped at 15% and if any withdrawals later are seen as income, would also only be taxed at 15%.
This has increased the attractiveness of QROPS in Malta for pensioners who want higher access to their pension pots after 55 years of age.
Malta QROPS Q&A
Am I allowed flexi-access drawdown in Malta?
Yes, for 2016, you are allowed access to 100% of your pension in a QROPS in Malta
What will the tax be on a QROPS in Malta?
There is no tax on death in a QROPS in Malta unless you return to be tax resident in the UK. Income tax will depend on the country you live in at retirement and he Double Taxation Agreement it has with Malta. In most cases in Europe, you would be taxed in your country of residence rather than Malta.
If no DTA exists, your pension income would be taxed in Malta. You could then apply for double taxation relief in your country of residence if they allow for foreign tax credits.
Are there any charges for “cashing in my pension in Malta”?
If you move your pension to a QROPS in Malta, there may be exit charges from the QROPS trustee as well as from any investments that you are involved in.
Full Flexi-Access Drawdown in Malta QROPS and Fees to Exit
However, full flexi-access does not mean zero fees to exit. If you are invested via an insurance wrapper known as a “portfolio bond”, normally you are vested for 10 years without being able to exit for free. If you want to exit early, normally there are charges of up to 10%.
The QROPS provider in Malta will likely also ask for an exit fee. For new cases, they may ask you to invest in the QROPS for at least two years.
These circumstances and the QROPS market changes quickly, please email us for more information on full flexible drawdown in Malta as well as any exit fees from a Malta QROPS.
Flexible Drawdown in Malta QROPS – Countries with Zero Tax on Drawdown
Flexible drawdown is now allowed in Malta. That is great news for expats in Europe and around the world, who can now have greater access to their pensions and often at a lower rate of tax.
Move to a QROPS in Malta and Pay zero tax in Portugal during your first 10 years of moving to Portugal.
Move to a QROPS in Spain and just pay Spanish income tax on your pension.
Move to a QROPS in Malta and pay only 10% income tax if you move to Andorra.
Move to a QROPS in Malta and pay zero income tax in Monaco.
Move to a QROPS in Malta and pay lower taxes in Cyprus.
Move to a QROPS in Malta and pay zero tax in Bahrain, Dubai (UAE) or Qatar.
Move to a QROPS in Malta and pay zero tax in Singapore.
Read here for some more low tax countries for expats abroad,
Sovereign Malta QROPS Confirms Flexi-Access on Their Malta QROPS
Sovereign has now confirmed the transition of “The Centaurus Retirement Benefit Scheme” and “The Centaurus Retirement Benefit Scheme” from licensing and regulation under the Special Funds (Regulation) Act. These are the names of their QROPS schemes in Malta, which are now ROPS and will allow full flexi-access drawdown.
These Malta ROP schemes will now be licensed and regulated under the Retirement Pensions Act, which came into force on the 1 January 2015.
As a result, QROPS Specialists are now in a position to offer “flexi-access drawdown” (FAD) under Malta ROP schemes, with immediate effect, enabling any transfers of UK relevant funds to be subject to the UK’s new FAD rules. This means 100% of a member’s fund may be available from the above schemes from age 55.
Members are strongly advised to take independent tax advice on the implications of how they take benefit from their pension and also to consider any early redemption charges that they may apply on their investments.
Please contact QROPS Specialists for more information. Each case will be unique and require different advice.QROPS Full Flexible Drawdown Now Available in Malta by Richard Malpass