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Pension Ombudsman & TPR

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Wednesday, 18 April 2018 08:57

The role and responsibilities of The Pension Ombusman (TPO) & The Pension Reglator (TPR) have changed.

The Pensions Ombudsman deals with complaints and disputes which concern the administration and/or management of occupational and personal pension schemes. 

You have the right to refer your complaint to The Pensions Ombudsman free of charge. 

Contact with The Pensions Ombudsman about a complaint needs to be made within three years of when the event(s) you are complaining about happened - or, if later, within three years of when you first knew about it (or ought to have known about it). There is discretion for those time limits to be extended. 

The Pensions Ombudsman can be contacted at:

10 South Colonnade, Canary Wharf, E14 4PU.
Telephone: 0800 917 4487
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

You can also submit a complaint form online:

If you have general requests for information or guidance concerning your pension arrangements contact:

The Pension Advisory Service
11 Belgrave Road, London, SW1V 1RB
Telephone: 0300 123 1047


Tax Rates 2018/19

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Friday, 06 April 2018 09:19

For 2018 to 2019 the basic Personal Allowance will be £11,850 per year.

New Scottish Income Tax rates (if your main residence is in Scotland).

 Band  Taxable Income    Tax Rate  
 Personal Allowance *    up to £11,850  0%
 Starter Rate   £11,851 to £13,850  19%
 Basic Rate  £13,851 to £24,000  20%
 Intermediate Rate  £24,001 to £43,430  21%
 Higher Rate **  £43,431 to £150,000    41%
 Top Rate **  Over £150,000  46%

* Assumes person in receipt of the Standard UK Personal Allowance

** Personal Allowance is reduced by £1 for every £2 earned over £100,000.

Further information on Scottish Income Tax and fact sheet can be found here:
Scottish Income tax 2018/19

UK Income Tax rates (if your main residence is out with Scotland). The table shows the rates you pay in each band if you have the standard Personal Allowance of £11,850.

 Band   Taxable Income  Tax Rate  
 Personal Allowance   Up to £11,850  0%
 Basic Rate   £11,851 to £34,500  20%
 Higher Rate   £34,501 to £150,000   40%
 Additional Rate   £150,001 and above  45%

Further information on income Tax rates and Personal Allowances can be found on the website: Income Tax rates and Personal Allowances - GOV.UK

If you have an enquiry regarding your personal tax please contact HMRC on 0300 200 3300.

Information for Employers

Tax thresholds, rates and codes

The amount of Income Tax you deduct from your employees depends on their tax code and how much of their taxable income is above their Personal Allowance.

There are different rates for Scotland.

 PAYE UK tax rates and thresholds     2018 to 2019
 Employee Personal Allowance   £228 per week
 £988 per month
 £11,850 per year 
 UK basic tax rate  20% on annual earnings above the PAYE tax threshold and up to £34,500        
 UK higher tax rate  40% on annual earnings from £34,501 to £150,000
 UK additional tax rate  45% on annual earnings above £150,000

 PAYE Scottish tax rates and thresholds     2018 to 2019
 Employee personal allowance  £228 per week
 £988 per month
 £11,850 per year
 Scottish starter tax rate  19% on annual earnings above the PAYE tax threshold and up to £2000  
 Scottish basic tax rate  20% on annual earnings from £2,001 to £12,150
 Scottish intermediate tax rate  21% on annual earnings from £12,151 to £31,580
 Scottish higher tax rate   41% on annual earnings from £31,581 to £150,000
 Scottish top tax rate  46% on annual earnings above £150,000

Emergency tax codes

1185L W1

1185L M1

1185L X

Further information can be found on the website: Rates and thresholds for employers: 2018 to 2019 - GOV.UK


Pensions Increase 2018

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Friday, 23 February 2018 12:47

Public service pensions in payment, together with those that are deferred for payment at a future date, are indexed annually based on the annual change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) measured as at the previous September. In the 12 months to September 2017, CPI was 3%. As a result, an increase of 3% is to be applied from 09 April 2018 for pensions in payment and deferred pensions. The UK Government expects to lay the Pensions Increase (Review) Order 2018 in early March.


GMP Overpayments Arising from a Scheme’s Reconciliation Exercise

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Thursday, 08 February 2018 09:41

In common with public service schemes across the UK a number of overpayments are expected to be identified from the reconciliation exercise where current GMP data held by schemes is incorrect. This will have resulted in schemes paying too much annual indexation to affected pensioners where all or part of the GMP indexation has also been paid by DWP.

A similar exercise undertaken in 2008/09 identified schemes were found to be holding incorrect GMP data. Scottish Ministers chose to allow the pension in payment to remain unadjusted going forward for affected pensioners in the LGPS, Police and Firefighter schemes. This was achieved by introducing legislation that provided for a new scheme award known as an increased Pension Entitlement (IPE) which reflected the GMP related overpayment.  It was not possible to introduce an IPE for either the Teachers' or the NHS scheme as this would have required HM Treasury consent which was not given.

Scottish Ministers have decided that a similar approach should be taken for GMP related overpayments that arise from the current reconciliation exercise. Again this means that affected pensions in the LGPS, Police and Firefighter schemes will see their existing level of pension maintained by the award of an IPE and regulations to provide for this award will be consulted on during 2018. However as in 2008/9 it will not be possible to apply an IPE to affected Teachers' and NHS pensioners as to provide a similar approach requires HM Treasury consent for the necessary legislative changes.

A decision on how any accrued overpayments will be handled will be decided by the scheme's Accountable Officer as soon as the total number and amount of overpayments are known. There may also be a small number of cases where the incorrect GMP data has led to an underpayment of pension.  In these cases the affected pension will be corrected going forward with any arrears being paid to the pensioner.

SPPA will not be able to identify which pensioners are affected until the reconciliation exercise concludes in late 2018 so cannot communicate directly with affected members at this time. This will be done at the conclusion of the reconciliation along with a decision on how accrued GMP related overpayments will be managed. In the meantime the following Q&A aims to address some of the questions that may arise.

Q&A: GMP overpayments arising from a scheme's reconciliation exercise


Allowing ‘Voluntary’ Scheme Pays elections in respect of the 2016/17 tax year and beyond

Friday, 26 January 2018 14:28

From the 2016/17 tax year, SPPA have introduced an option for members who become subject to an Annual Allowance tax charge but who are unable to meet the statutory conditions to ask the NHS, Teachers, Fire and Police Schemes to meet this tax charge on their behalf. All pension savings that have accrued since 6 April 2016, that have triggered a tax charge against:

the member's Annual Allowance threshold, andeither do not qualify for, or cannot be met in full using the Mandatory Scheme Pays election mechanism

can now be paid by the NHS, Teachers, Fire and Police Schemes using a Voluntary Scheme Pays election.

Please note that deadlines for Voluntary Scheme Pays and Mandatory Scheme Pays are different.  For the 2016/17:

 Scheme Pays  Mandatory  Voluntary
 Conditions  Pension input amount in the final salary scheme or CARE scheme is greater than the Annual Allowance and a total Annual Allowance charge of more than £2,000.  Pension input amount in the final salary scheme and the CARE scheme results in an Annual Allowance charge of more than £2,000.
 Member Self-assessment submitted to HMRC  Paper - 31 October 2017 Electronic - 31 January 2018  Paper - 31 October 2017, Electronic - 31 January 2018
 Election Deadline  31 July 2018  31 July 2018
 Liability  Shared between you and SPPA  You
 Deadline the tax must be paid to HMRC (without interest)  14 February 2019  31 January 2018
 Interest  Nil if SPPA makes payment by 14 February 2019  From 31 January 2018 to the date SPPA makes payment

The SPPA will not accept  scheme pays if members do not have an annual allowance tax charge arising singly or in aggregate in the NHS, Teachers, Fire or Police schemes that they are in.

The member must provide us with details of the tax charge they face and we will have to check if this has resulted in a tax charge either singly or in aggregate. Therefore where members have not already had a pension saving statement, they may ask for a pension saving statement.  Schemes have three months to provide a statement on request, provided they have all the relevant information.  For 2016/17 members must elect for scheme pays by the 31st of July 2018  if they wish us to pay the tax which  would be paid in the next tax return SPPA makes.  These returns are submitted quarterly. 

The member  is liable for any interest  accrued in respect of scheme pays e.g. for 2016/17 interest would be accrued from 31st January 2018 until the tax is paid. SPPA will not pay any interest charges in respect of a voluntary Scheme Pays election.

When completing self-assessment there is a requirement to provide details of the pension scheme tax reference number.  If you have a charge against more than one scheme you should provide HMRC with details relating to the amount of Annual Allowance charge allocated against each scheme and the relevant scheme tax reference numbers relating to each charge.  You can use the 'additional information' section to do this.

To see further information and what this may mean for you please refer to the Scheme Pays section on the SPPA internet, which is currently being updated to reflect these changes:

We regret that we cannot revisit previous cases that were denied the opportunity to make a 'Voluntary' Scheme Pays election in respect of tax years up to 5 April 2016.


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

Tuesday, 23 January 2018 10:32

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.


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Link to Scottish Government Website