Qualifying Non-UK Pension Scheme -
QNUPS (Qualifying None Uk Pension Scheme)

A QNUPS is an overseas pension scheme in which cash and assets that are non-UK tax relief can be contributed. QNUPS regulations were introduced by UK HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) on 15 February 2010. The creation of the QNUPS legislation has provided significant opportunities for British Domiciles, irrespective of whether they are resident in the UK or are expatriates.

Many individuals have insufficient capital within their existing pension scheme to provide them with the level of income they will require in retirement. For such individuals, a QNUPS offers an excellent vehicle to top-up the overall amount of assets that need to be set aside for a comfortable retirement. An Actuary, based upon your assets and lifestyle, will be able to establish the level of retirement benefits required to sustain your standard of living in retirement. Based on this information, a sensible funding level of contributions to the QNUPS can be agreed.

QNUPS can offer some great benefits, especially the extraction of wealth in a tax-efficient manner which is usually the most difficult issue to solve

The key points of a Qualifying Non-UK Pension Scheme:

  • Depending on your circumstances, it may be possible to contribute to a QNUPS after you have retired.
  • The pension fund can be used by the member during his lifetime and any remaining balance can be passed on to their chosen heirs upon the member's death.
  • You do not need to have any earned income from employment in order to make a contribution.
  • There is no maximum contribution that can be made into a QNUPS (but must be sensible to one's standard of living and may need the approval of an independent actuary).

 

As a full member of the European Union, Malta is a preferred jurisdictions for QNUPS for the following reasons:

  • Malta has been a successful full member of EU since 2004
  • Pension administrators in Malta are all licensed
  • Malta has met its all IFRS standards since 1997
  • Malta is a member of the following reputable entities:
    1. International Organisation of Securities Commission
    2. International Association of Insurance Supervisors
    3. European Banking Authority
    4. European Insurance & Occupational Pensions Authority
    5. European Securities Marketing Authority
    6. Malta has a reputable comprehensive, legislative and regulatory framework through the Malta Financial Services Authority.
    7. Malta enjoys a sophisticated ICT Infrastructure
    8. Malta offers investor protection through a vast tax treaty network with over 59 Double Tax Treaties at the time of writing.

 

Who can benefit from a QNUPS?

A QNUPS is ideal for both UK residents and non-UK residents who still maintain a UK inheritance Tax (IHT) exposure - which is likely to be any British citizen living overseas, as domicile status is incredibly hard to lose and all British domiciles are taxed 40% IHT on their worldwide estate when they die.

With UK retirement rates being at near record lows, even individuals who have a fully funded UK pension in line with the current Lifetime Allowance limit (£1.0 million) can find that they do not have a large enough retirement pot to satisfy their retirement needs. A QNUPS therefore creates an ideal vehicle to build an individual's retirement provisions in line with their retirement income expectations and because QNUPS are not subject to lifetime allowance limits there will not be the same severe tax penalties that a UK resident will suffer should they fund their UK registered schemes over the lifetime allowance limit.

Often, expats have very little options for funding pension plans in the country that they reside in. In addition, as globalisation takes hold, many individuals are now constantly on the move from one country to the other as employment opportunities arise. Generally, people leading such an international lifestyle are often unwilling to leave assets situated in one country when they depart. For such individuals, a QNUPS can be created in order to create a fully international and passport able retirement plan that can be contributed to and accessed irrespective of where the individual resides.

While both UK residents and expats creating a QNUPS should do so for retirement provisions, any funds that remain in the QNUPS on death do not attract a UK IHT charge and can be passed to beneficiaries of the member's choice rather than being distributed in accordance with their Will.

For more information on QNUPS please contact one of our International Wealth Management specialists.

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