Tax-free transfer of pension fund assets from the UK to Switzerland

Private pension provision
Independent Vested Benefits Foundation is a registered «Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme» (QROPS) with the UK tax authorities and is authorized to accept UK pension fund assets tax-free. Stefano Minuscoli, QROPS specialist at PensExpert, answers frequently asked client questions.
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Written by
Stefano Minuscoli
Client advisor Vested Benefits & 3a

Independent is the only vested benefits foundation in Switzerland with a QROPS status. What are the requirements for a tax-free transfer?

Stefano Minuscoli: The tax-free transfer of UK pension assets becomes an issue when a client has definitely left the UK. Additionally, the client must have already reached the age of 55 and have a Swiss domicile at the same time.

 

Is the tax-free transfer worth it?

The taxation of a pension assets withdrawal in Switzerland is privileged and significantly lower than in the UK. Therefore, the transfer is already worthwhile for fiscal reasons. But the question of currency must also be asked. If you plan to spend your retirement in Switzerland, it makes sense to manage your pension assets with a Swiss pension foundation.

 

Is there a maximum amount for a tax-free transfer?

Indeed, the British tax authorities do define a maximum amount. Currently, the tax-free amount is capped at £1,073,100. Depending on the year in which the funds were accrued, the tax-free amount may be higher.

 

Does the same investment regulation apply for the UK pension assets as for Swiss pension assets?

This is correct. After the transfer, the pension assets are subject to the Swiss Federal Law investment rules  and the Foundation’s investment regulations. The foreign currency portion at Independent may not exceed 50 %.

 

What are the costs of the service?

The transfer process is complex and involves a great deal of work for the vested benefits foundation. In addition, there is a ten-year reporting obligation to the British tax authorities. Independent charges a one-off advisory and processing fee of 1% of the transferred UK assets for its services.

 

What do I have to pay attention to when withdrawing?

The pension recipient must not have been liable to tax in the UK for at least ten years at the time of withdrawal. Furthermore, the ex-UK pension assets must have been with Independent for at least five years after the transfer from the UK.

 

Summary: A transfer to Independent is worthwhile for tax and currency considerations. However, due to the numerous regulations and the complex process, it is necessary to examine and assess each client's situation individually before a transfer. We are happy to assist you.

Written by
Stefano Minuscoli
Client advisor Vested Benefits & 3a