The lure of retirement to warmer lands is and has long been the dream for many – And many live a long and happy retirement abroad. However, one thing in life that is predictable, we live in an unpredictable world! Life as an ex-pat is somewhat of an unknown adventure for most. It can be hard to adjust. In addition, there are so many things that can happen (even the best laid plans, as they say). Unexpected situations that might mean returning to the UK is simply the right thing to do. What happens if you need (want) to return to the UK and have moved your pension overseas, using the QROPS framework? One thing is for certain, you are probably going to need pension advice.
QROPS Help Centre – Get the Advice you Need
Many ex-pats moved over to QROPS (Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes) when they settled down to their new life abroad. Thankfully, the UK government expected this situation might arise when they setup the system, and so all is not lost for those who want to return home. However, it is a rather complex issue and to ensure you make the right move with regards to your pension, it is best to seek professional advice from a QROPS help centre. Why? There are several options open to you and choosing the wrong one might cost you a lot more than you anticipated.
A QROPS can remain ‘as is’ if and when you return to the UK permanently. Benefits drawn from this pension would become liable for the same tax applied to UK pensions when you return home. If you have spent LESS than five years consecutive tax years abroad and withdrawn from a QROPS, you really need to get advice before you head home. In this instance the UK government will usually consider your overseas residency as temporary, and this changes the game plan quite considerably with regards to taxes.
Returning to Work?
If you are going back to work and intending to pay UK, taxable pensions contributions the UK version of the QROPS will not adapt to the change. There are other options available and the best way to know those options is to contact a QROPS advice centre. They have professionals who understand the complexities involved and can offer sound advice with regards to international taxes, trusts and any specific options available to you – Without doubt, they can help you make the best financial choice for your particular circumstances.
The Bottom Line
Any ex-pat who is considering returning back to the UK, as a pensioner or working, should get professional pension advice if they previously transferred to a QROPS. They can help you transfer your pension back with a lot less stress and probably a lot less taxes. If you intend to work, they can advise if another scheme such as SIPP might be more appropriate. Bottom line? Do not wait until you get back to get advice!