Update - 29 December 2016
The amending regulations SSI, which will enable the SPPA to make payments in respect of the Firefighters 'Contributions Holiday', were laid in Parliament on 22 December 2016 and come into force from 6 Feb 2017.
On 23 December 2016 the SPPA Acting Chief Executive wrote to those affected by the amended regulations confirming the progress the Agency has made to date, and our requirements to ensure we can meet our anticipated timescales.
Retired members: We have verified all individuals affected by the 'contributions holiday' and are running test cases to ensure all calculations are correct. We aim to finalise calculations and notify individuals of their entitlement from 6 February 2017 and make payments by 31 March 2017, subject to the return of the appropriate mandates from the members affected.
Active members: The SPPA has confirmed with SFRS that the contributions holiday can commence from 6 February 2017. GAD will provide the Agency with a calculator specifically for active members and we aim to advise the SFRS of the refund amounts due by 31 March 2017.
HMRC has confirmed that the refund payments generated by the retrospective application of the employee contributions holiday constitute unauthorised payments and, as such, will generate an unauthorised payment charge tax liability. An agreement has been reached regarding payment of the surcharge, at no loss to the member, on the provision of a completed mandate to SPPA. Please see the following link for more information on Unauthorised payments - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/pension-schemes-and-unauthorised-payments
Some scheme members may have received additional income from other sources outside their employment as a firefighter during the contributions holiday period and may have sought additional tax relief on their firefighter pension contributions direct from HMRC based on this additional income. If this has been the case we would arrange for the Governments Actuary Department (GAD) to arrange a bespoke calculation.
Further information is included in our FAQ's.