UK Pension Changes 2024

May 2, 2024 | Pensions

The UK Pension Overhaul: A Closer Look

The UK pension landscape is undergoing a significant transformation. The Lifetime Allowance, a familiar term to many, is being phased out and replaced by three distinct allowances.

This move is not just a simple name change, it represents a fundamental shift in how pension savings and benefits will be managed and accessed.

Here’s what’s on the horizon:

  1. Lump Sum Allowance (LSA) – £268,275: This allowance signifies the amount you can take as a lump sum from your pension pot. It’s a pivotal figure, especially for those looking to draw significant amounts directly from their pensions.
  2. Lump Sum and Death Benefit Allowance (LSDBA) – £1,073,100: This allowance encompasses the total lump sum you can withdraw in your lifetime, along with any benefits that may be paid out upon death. It’s a comprehensive figure, ensuring that both life and death benefits are covered under one cap.
  3. Overseas Transfer Allowance (OTA) – £1,073,100: For those considering moving their pension overseas, this allowance is crucial. It sets the limit on how much can be transferred, aligning with the LSDBA to provide a unified approach to pension management.

If you already have protections in place under the previous LTA system, your allowances might be higher, offering a layer of grandfathering to existing schemes.

What If You’ve Already Accessed Your Pension?

The transition to these new allowances isn’t as straightforward as resetting the clock. If you or your client have previously accessed pension funds under the LTA, the remaining entitlements don’t simply roll over. The HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) requires a meticulous accounting of past LTA records, adjusting the LSA and LSDBA accordingly.

This adjustment involves a “notional” calculation, assuming all past LTA events happened on a single date – April 5, 2024. This recalculation can impact the new allowances, especially if 100% of the LTA was used, setting all new allowances to zero. It’s a complex process, ensuring that past withdrawals are harmoniously integrated with the new system.

What If the Full Pension Commencement Lump Sum (PCLS) Wasn’t Taken?

In cases where the full PCLS wasn’t utilized, HMRC offers a pathway to adjust. A Transitional Tax-Free Amount Certificate can recalibrate the allowances, tailoring them to the individual’s actual pension usage. This certificate is particularly relevant for those who’ve moved their pensions overseas or received certain pension credits before April 6, 2024. Obtaining this certificate requires detailed documentation of past LTA usage and PCLS payments, underscoring the importance of accurate record-keeping.

Acquiring a Transitional Tax-Free Amount Certificate

Securing this certificate is a process initiated by the client, requiring a detailed submission of historic LTA usage and PCLS payments. The documentation must be thorough, including BCE statements and relevant transfer statements. The timeline for receiving a response from pension providers can vary, but the aim is within two weeks, highlighting a commitment to efficiency despite the potential complexity of applications.

The Implications of These Changes

The interplay between the LSA and LSDBA is intricate, with tax-free lump sums impacting both allowances. However, specific sums related to serious ill-health or death benefits uniquely affect the LSDBA. Additionally, the method of testing pension withdrawals against these allowances has evolved, offering a more nuanced approach to managing pension funds.

In Conclusion

The pension changes ushered in with the new UK tax year mark a significant departure from the past, introducing a more flexible and nuanced system for managing retirement funds. Whether you’re planning for retirement or advising clients on their pension strategies, staying informed and prepared for these changes is crucial. As we navigate this new landscape, the goal remains clear: to ensure a secure and prosperous retirement for all.

  1. What’s the biggest change in the UK pension system? The replacement of the Lifetime Allowance with three new allowances: LSA, LSDBA, and OTA.
  2. How does the transition from LTA to the new allowances work? Past LTA records will affect the new allowances, requiring adjustments based on a notional calculation.
  3. Can I adjust my allowances if I didn’t use my full PCLS? Yes, through a Transitional Tax-Free Amount Certificate, which recalculates your allowances based on actual pension usage.

Remember, as we pivot into this new era of pension planning, the complexity of these changes underscores the importance of professional advice. Ensuring you or your clients are positioned to take full advantage of these new allowances requires careful planning and thorough understanding. Here’s to a future of informed financial decisions and prosperous retirements!


This communication is for informational purposes only based on our understanding of current legislation and practices which are subject to change and are not intended to constitute, and should not be construed as, investment advice, investment recommendations or investment research. You should seek advice from a professional adviser before embarking on any financial planning activity. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the information contained in this communication is correct, we are not responsible for any errors or omissions.

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Personal advice, whenever it suits you.

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