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Can I withdraw from my UK pension pot?

Business | Published:

I am originally from the UK and have a very small private pension pot with Aviva, but I am now settled in Jersey and a regular taxpayer here. With regards to the tax laws and regulations on how much can be withdrawn from a pension, am I able to withdraw from that pension as a Jersey taxpayer, or will the UK pension company only let me withdraw based on UK pension/tax laws because the money was originally earned there and the pension set up there? I was hoping to withdraw it all to pay off some debts and don’t feel that the costs of transferring it here would be worthwhile.

Mike Freer, BWCI (25712847)

Mike Freer, business development manager, BWCI, replies:

The UK pension company will need to work to UK regulations and their policy documentation regardless of your residency.

If you are over age 55, then you may be able to have full access to your fund via the UK’s pension freedom provisions. These provisions would allow your whole fund to be taken as a lump sum if the Aviva policy documentation permits this. If you are under age 55 then you would not normally be eligible to receive benefits from a UK pension scheme.

I suggest you contact Aviva to see what your options are, highlighting that you are Jersey tax resident (because this could affect the tax treatment of the payment). Also, before receiving any payment from Aviva, it would be advisable to check how this would be taxed in Jersey.

If you opt to transfer to Jersey, then the recipient scheme would need to be a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (‘QROPS’) in order to receive the transfer.

Restrictions will apply to the UK funds once in the Jersey arrangement, so you should discuss this with your potential provider before transferring.

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By Gwyn Garfield-Bennett
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Gwyn is a highly experienced journalist having worked in UK national TV for the BBC and ITN, as well as running her own magazine publishing business, freelancing for national newspapers and UK magazines. She has a CIPR Diploma in Public relations, excellent digital skills and is an experienced digital marketing practitioner. Gwyn is also an author of several books.

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