All posts by Mark Whybrew

Property Planning Information Bulletin January 2021

As you may be aware the government has indicated there will be some relaxation of planning rules and we understand that this may include making it easier to obtain permission to convert some vacant commercial properties to residential.

With this in mind we wanted to contact you to remind you about the very strict HMRC rules surrounding property ownership within your pension scheme, in particular the fact that residential property must not be held within your scheme.

What property can your pension scheme own?

The following lists are not exhaustive but aim to give a brief overview.

You pension can own:

• Freehold/Leasehold commercial land and buildings like offices, shops, factories.
• Land for development.
• Agricultural land.
• Hotels, care homes, halls of residence – subject to certain restrictions.

Your pension cannot own:

• residential property like houses, flats, holiday homes, buy to lets or holiday lets
• any land that is wholly or partly the garden or grounds of a residential property
• Residential Ground rents – which are a type of long leasehold – held in relation to residential property
• Overseas property

Development

If, during the pension scheme’s ownership of a property any type of development is intended, please let us know immediately so that we can discuss proposals with you to ensure no breaches of HMRC rules.

Although your scheme can apply for residential planning please be aware that no form of the residential development can be carried out by a pension scheme and, the property would have to be sold before any residential development was physically commenced.

The property must be legally classed as commercial throughout the pension scheme’s ownership. As such Business Rates should be paid in respect of the property – not Council Tax (which applies only to residential properties).

If you have queries regarding development then please request a copy of our separate Property Development Guide in the first instance.

Consequences of failure to adhere to HMRC rules

If a scheme directly or indirectly acquires or holds taxable property (residential property or tangible moveable property) this will create an unauthorised payment charge on the member personally (or in some cases on the sponsoring employer) whose scheme acquires the asset. The unauthorised payment tax charge is 40% of the amount of the unauthorised payment (i.e. the purchase price/property value).

There is also a scheme sanction charge of 15% and if the investment exceeds 25% of the fund value then an additional tax charge of 15% applies which would take the total tax charges to 70% of the value of the property purchase price/value.

It is these significant tax charges that makes the holding of residential property prohibitive.

Full details of the consequences for failure to adhere to the HMRC rules can be found in the Pensions Tax Manual:

https://www.gov.uk/hmrc-internal-manuals/pensions-tax-manual/ptm134000

We hope this proves a helpful reminder of the rules, if you have any queries at all please do contact us.

COVID-19 update: Our company’s response

Dear all,

In line with Government advice and to look after the wellbeing of our staff, their families and all our clients and advisers, we have an increased number of staff working from home.

Firstly, we want to reassure you that we have the resource, systems and technology in place to continue working in the usual way, and to support any of your requests. While there will clearly be some changes to our ways of working in the coming weeks and months, it’s important to stress that we are here, and available, when you need us. Our utmost priority remains delivering a high standard of service for you.

Our adaptable internal processes mean that all our staff are able to work remotely and securely. Any reduction in office staff should have minimal effect on us answering your calls or acting on any instructions, but please bear with us.

Remember we are also available via email, so please get in touch with us using this method where possible during this period. Your dedicated account manager will gladly call you back so don’t forget to leave your number if we don’t already have it.

Secondly, any face-to-face meetings or popping into the office is now cancelled or postponed to protect you and our staff – some of whom will have vulnerable relatives.

To ensure you can continue to talk to us, should you feel the need, we are more than committed to hosting meetings online and remotely. We can hold these if you have a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet and we will be happy to arrange a video meeting. Or simply pick up the phone and speak to us.

We hope you are well and stay safe.

Tax Year deadlines

We thought it would be helpful to provide you with information regarding our deadlines for our processes in relation to the tax year end. If you have any queries please let us know.

Contributions

For existing clients wishing to make an ad hoc contribution we can accept completed contribution application forms and funds by either electronic transfer or by cheque up to and including the Friday 3rd April 2020. If the contribution application form is not fully completed the date of the contribution will be the date we receive all the information required to be able to process the contribution, which means that the contribution may fall into the 2020/21 tax year. We are happy to accept scanned contribution application forms by e-mail and will confirm if we require any further information. Note that payment must have been received by close of business on Friday 3rd April 2020 for it to count in this tax year. Please do not arrange for a contribution to be made without the contribution application form having been completed and signed by the client first.

New SIPPs

Due to the high volume of SIPPs received at the end of the tax year we would ask that all new SIPPs with supporting contributions are received by the Wednesday 1st April 2020. We are happy to accept scanned forms. If you have an urgent SIPP to be set up within the tax year but after this date please contact us to discuss the details.

Pension Payments

Pension Payments are paid on the last working day of each month, which will be Tuesday 31st March 2020 for this month. Please ensure that cleared funds are in your client’s SIPP bank account by the Tuesday 24th March 2020. If any changes are to be made to a client’s level of pension payments or any clients want to start receiving pension payments for the first time please provide us with the completed paperwork by the Tuesday 24th March 2020. We are happy to accept a scanned copy of the paperwork.

Taking Benefits

We receive a high volume of requests for clients to take benefits from their pension schemes towards the end of the tax year. We may need to obtain valuations from third parties to process a request and this may affect the length of time it takes to complete the process. To be able to make a tax free cash payment or pension payment there needs to be cleared funds in the SIPPs bank account and pension payments will be subject to a cut of date of the Tuesday 24th March 2020. Again, we are happy to accept scanned forms.

If you have any urgent cases please contact us and we will endeavour to get anything processed before the end of the tax year.

SIPPs Professional article – Elaine Turtle: My concerns over SIPP consolidation

It is hard to believe that the first SIPP was sold over 30 years ago. In the three decades since the first SIPP was established they have gone from being a niche product aimed at more affluent clients, entrepreneurs or small business owners to being a mainstream pension vehicle. For Elaine Turtle, Director at DP Pensions, there are 5 key things that have defined and evolved the SIPP sector which are explained here.

https://www.sippsprofessional.co.uk/comment-and-blogs/item/4003-elaine-turtle-my-concerns-over-sipp-consolidation