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Indexation and Equalisation of Guaranteed Minimum Pensions (GMP) from 2018

The UK government consulted between 28 November 2016 and 20 February 2017 on how GMP indexation and equalisation should be applied to public service schemes going forward from 6 December 2018. An interim solution was introduced for the period 6 April 2016 to 5 December 2018 whereby public service schemes will pay the full indexation for members reaching state pension age between these dates. The three options under consideration were:

· Case by case – an annual comparison of what a member receives under the old and new system, which would also include a further comparator to ensure equalisation;

· Full indexation - a continuation of the interim solution; and  

· Conversion - convert the accrued GMP into a scheme benefit.

The UK government has now considered the replies it received and has issued a formal response to the consultation which is available via the following link (which also provides a copy of the consultation paper): Indexation and equalisation of GMP in public service pension schemes - GOV.UK.

In brief, the case by case option has now been ruled out. It has been decided to extend the interim solution from 6 December 2018 to 5 April 2021 to allow further consideration of implementing GMP conversion as a longer-term solution. The UK government will continue to consult with departments and schemes to decide whether a suitable methodology and legislation can be developed to enable GMP conversion to take place in the future. The UK government will also continue to take account of alternative solutions that may also address this issue.

 

Annual Allowance 2016/2017

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 December 2017 14:14

The UK Government sets limits on the amount you can build up in your pension schemes each year and benefit from tax relief. This is known as the Annual Allowance (AA) and the limit for the 2016/2017 year is £40,000. The AA limit includes all superannuation and private pensions but does not include the Government State Pension.

Pension scheme administrators have a legislative requirement to send pension savings statements to members by 6 October 2017 if they exceed the Annual Allowance (AA) in their registered scheme. SPPA has provided members who have exceeded the AA with pension savings statement(s) detailing the Pension Input Amounts (PIA) i.e amount of growth in your pension values for 2016/2017. We have also provided you with PIA values for the previous 3 years as members can offset an AA breach in any one year against any spare unused allowance in the previous 3 years.
How to identify if you have incurred a tax charge

HMRC have developed a calculator www.tax.service.gov.uk/paac where you can enter the Pension Input Amounts (PIA) from your pension savings statement(s). This will show whether you have a tax charge or unused allowance from the previous 3 years.

If a tax charge is applicable this must be reported to HMRC through self assessment by 31 January 2018 and any monies due must be received by them by this date. You may have the right to ask SPPA to arrange payment of some, or all of your AA tax liability to HMRC. This is known as ‘Scheme Pays’ but SPPA will only accept a scheme pays election for your SPPA pension scheme liabilities. To qualify for ‘Scheme Pays’ you must meet the HMRC mandatory requirements. Please see further information on Scheme Pays.

The table below shows the Annual Allowance limits from 6 April 2011:

 Tax year   Annual Allowance 
 2017/18  £40,000
 2016/17  £40,000
 2015/16  £80,000
 2014/15  £40,000
 2013/14  £50,000
 2012/13  £50,000
 2011/12  £50,000

Changes have also been made from 6 April 2016 with the introduction of Tapered Annual Allowance for members with earnings over £110,000. Please see further information on these AA changes 2016/2017.

If you have received an Annual Allowance pension savings statement and have an enquiry about the earnings quoted, please contact your employer in the first instance.   All other enquiries relating to Annual Allowance  should be emailed to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 

 

2017 Annual Benefit Statements

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The Scottish Public Pensions Agency (SPPA) will issue Annual Benefit Statements for all active members of the Scottish: NHS, Teacher, Police and Firefighter Schemes from 31 August 2017.

Who is eligible to receive an Annual Benefit Statement?

To receive an Annual Benefit Statement, you must have been an active Scheme member on 31 March 2017.

 

What is an Annual Benefit Statement?

Your Annual Benefit Statement is a summary of your pension benefits up to 31 March 2017 providing details of:

· Current Accrued Pension Benefits

· Current level of death benefits

· Lifetime Allowance (LTA) information

Membership and pensionable pay data held on your record is provided on an annual basis by your employer and this information is used to calculate your Annual benefit Statement.

 

How can I access my Annual Benefit Statement?

· NHS and Teacher Pension Scheme members will be able to access their 2017 Annual Benefit Statement by registering and logging on to My pension Online member services.

· Police and Firefighter Pension Scheme members will have their 2017 Annual Benefit Statements posted to their home address.

 

Further Scheme specific guidance is available at the links below:

NHS Main menu ABS 2017  Teachers Main menu ABS 2017  Police Main menu ABS 2017  Firefighter Main menu ABS 2017

 

 

HMRC Personal Tax Account

Friday, 28 July 2017 08:18

HMRC have introduced a new service to allow you to manage your personal tax affairs.
Your online Personal Tax Account is a new way to view and manage your tax affairs in one secure place. There are a range of services available with more being added all the time.
You can use your personal tax account to:

• check your Income Tax estimate and tax code
• fill in, send and view a personal tax return
• claim a tax refund
• check and manage your tax credits
• check your State Pension
• track tax forms that you’ve submitted online
• check or update your Marriage Allowance
• tell HMRC about a change of address
• check or update benefits you get from work, for example company car details and medical insurance

Visit the HMRC website to sign in or set up your Personal Tax account.

Any queries relating to your personal tax must be made to HMRC on 0300 200 3300.

HMRC have introduced a new service to allow you to manage your personal tax affairs.

Your online Personal Tax Account is a new way to view and manage your tax affairs in one secure place. There are a range of services available with more being added all the time.

You can use your personal tax account to:

    • check your Income Tax estimate and tax code
    • fill in, send and view a personal tax return
    • claim a tax refund
    • check and manage your tax credits
    • check your State Pension
    • track tax forms that you’ve submitted online
    • check or update your Marriage Allowance
    • tell HMRC about a change of address
    • check or update benefits you get from work, for example company car details and medical insurance

Visit the HMRC website to sign in or set up your Personal Tax account at;

 HMRC Personal tax account: sign in or set up - GOV.UK

Any queries relating to your personal tax must be made to HMRC on 0300 200 3300

 

Appointment of new SPPA Chief Executive

Wednesday, 05 July 2017 10:34

Penelope Cooper 4

The Scottish Public Pensions Agency has announced the appointment of Penelope Cooper as its new Chief Executive.

Penelope, who is a Chartered Manager, will be responsible for the smooth running of the Agency in its management of key Public Sector Pension Schemes.

Penelope has 25 years' experience working in the Financial Sector in Scotland, London and mainland Europe, working for a range of companies including Citibank, Standard Life, HBOS and OneLife. She has gained a wide experience across the sector, and specifically within Pensions and Life Assurance.

She has also previously served as Chief Executive of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, Europe.

Originally from Wales, after 14 years of working in mainland Europe, Penelope has returned to Scotland where she has very strong family connections.

Penelope said ' I am delighted to be joining SPPA at an exciting time for both the organisation, and the pensions industry more generally. I look forward to building on the successes already achieved, and to preparing the SPPA for the opportunities that lie ahead.'

 

Changes to nominated partner benefits

Thursday, 20 April 2017 13:38

Nominated partner benefits (also known as adult partner benefits in the police schemes) were introduced to public service schemes between 2006 and 2009. As part of entitlement to those benefits it was a mandatory requirement that a nomination form had to be completed (this requirement was removed from the Local Government Pensions Scheme with effect from 1 April 2015). This requirement was in addition to meeting the underlying conditions which must be satisfied for a continuous period of at least 2 years for a nominated partner pension to be paid.

Broadly these are:

· The scheme member is able to marry, or form a civil partnership with their partner;

· The scheme member and partner are living with each other as if they were a married couple or civil partners;

· Neither the scheme member nor the partner is living with a third person as if they were a married couple or civil partners; and

· The member and partner are financially interdependent or the partner is financially dependent on the member.

Nominated partner benefits were not introduced to the Police 1987 or the Firefighters 1992 schemes but members were given the opportunity to transfer to the 2006 schemes on preferential terms which do provide these benefits.

 

What’s changed?

On 8 February 2017, the Supreme Court decided that refusing a claim on the grounds that a nomination form had not been completed despite the underlying conditions being met is incompatible with Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights and was therefore unlawful

The Supreme Court's decision also applies to other public service schemes, and since February SPPA has removed the mandatory requirement to complete a nomination form, although a form can still be completed on a voluntary basis. However the underlying conditions mentioned above have not changed and must still be met for a claim to succeed.

Scottish Ministers have decided that this change should be applied to any case that has previously met the underlying conditions but which would not have gained entitlement due to the lack of a nomination form. In those cases the member concerned should contact SPPA for guidance. It is important to note that to enable a nominated partner pension to be paid the underlying conditions must be met.

SPPA has applied this change for claims received from 8 February 2017 but this change will also apply to any claim disallowed where a nomination form was not held but the underlying conditions were met.
 

My claim was refused because my partner had not completed a nomination form- what do I need to do?

If you made a claim for a nominated partner benefit before 8 February 2017 and were refused on the grounds that a nomination form had not been completed then you should contact the SPPA as soon as possible for further advice.

Although the mandatory requirement for a completed nomination form has been withdrawn a form will still be available for anyone who would like to inform SPPA of their partnership details. This will only be used for administrative purposes but may provide useful additional information in the event of a claim being made. As mentioned above any entitlement to a nominated partner benefit will be based on the underlying conditions being met.

 

Teachers Schemes only

Nominated partner benefits are based on a member's service from 1 April 2007. There is an opportunity for existing scheme members to increase the amount of nominated partner benefits by buying pre 1 April 2007 service. This was previously offered on receipt of a nomination form but as completion of these forms will no longer be mandatory anyone interested in purchasing additional service for nominated partner benefits should contact SPPA. To  elect to buy pre 2007 service  an application must be made within 6 months of the partnership meeting the underlying conditions, as shown above, and which must be satisfied for a continuous period of at least 2 years.

 

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