HMRC has temporarily suspended the published list of Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (ROPS) until it can produce an updated version on 1 July.
The reason given for the temporary suspension was that HMRC wanted to determine that all schemes that had previously appeared on the list meet the Pension Age Test requirement. To meet this requirement, a pension scheme must not be required to make payments before 55 except in cases of ill-health.
Any scheme that does not meet this requirement will no longer be on the updated ROPS list and will no longer be classified as a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension scheme (QROPS).
If a particular pension scheme is reviewed and found to be longer be a QROPS, then a transfer to that scheme will not be tax-free.
If a scheme is no longer considered to be a QROPS, people who have transferred pension savings to that scheme before it ceased to be listed will not incur any additional tax charges.
HMRC recommends that people who have pension schemes abroad should take this opportunity to “confirm with the scheme manager of the scheme to which you want to transfer whether that scheme meets all of the requirements to be a ROPS, including the Pension Age Test, from 6 April 2015 onwards.”
It is also recommended that individuals should always seek professional advice before they take the decision to transfer their UK tax relieved pension savings.