Can I Move My UK Pension to Ireland

Can I Move My UK Pension to Ireland?

by Rose O’Halloran – Associate Director | Walsh Group

Working as a financial advisor with Walsh Group in Cork, Ireland, we encounter quite a few clients seeking advice with regard to working in the UK. And specifically looking for information about UK pensions and whether or not they can be transferred to Ireland.

If you have worked in the UK at some stage of your career you may have a UK pension. And yes, if you have a private sector pension in the UK, you do have the option to bring this pension to Ireland.

What type of pension can I transfer?

The majority of private sector pensions can certainly be transferred to Ireland,  however most public sector pensions cannot be transferred.

How does the process work?

  • Your UK pension is with an existing UK pension provider.
  • To transfer this pension to Ireland, you will need a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS).

QROPS is a type of pension structure which has been registered with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs in the UK, and can accept pension transfers from the UK without the potential for triggering a tax charge.

What are the advantages of this transfer process?

  • Convenience – If you want to retire here in Ireland, it makes sense to transfer the fund here.
  • Tax – QROPS can accept transfers without the potential for triggering a tax charge on the fund.
  • Standard Fund Threshold – This currently stands at €2 million. Any pension funds that you transfer in to Ireland does not count towards this €2 million threshold. The threshold only takes into consideration pension savings in relation to Irish earnings.
  • Inheritance Planning – If the beneficiaries of your will are not living in the UK, then leaving your pension there may be more complicated to deal with.
Transferring a UK Pension to Ireland

What should I consider before transferring my pension?

  • Tax charges on the transfer – Failure to arrange the proper structure for transfer could result in UK tax charges of up to 55%.
  • Pension age – The minimum retirement age on a QROPS is 55. You can only access your benefits before age 55 on ill health grounds.
  • Tax residency – Payments from your QROPS within 5 years of the transfer will be subject to UK tax rules, regardless of where you are resident. You will have to declare how long you have been out of the UK when making a claim on your policy.
  • Accessing your pension – Benefits can be paid if you are …
    • Age 55 and over.
    • You have not been a UK tax resident for at least 10 years.
  • Overseas transfer charge – There may be a 25% overseas transfer charge on a QROPS transfer, unless the transfer is …
    • To your Employers Occupational Pension Scheme
    • To your Country of residence or
    • Within the European Economic Area (EEA)
  • Advice in the UK – Where the transfer is coming from a Defined Benefit Scheme and the value is 30,000 or higher, the UK Pension Provider will require that financial advice is provided by an Independent Financial Advisor authorised in the UK. (We can arrange this for you.)

If you have a UK pension and would like any further information about transferring it to Ireland, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at Walsh Group, and we can assist you with your query.