This is a complex area of personal taxation and while the information on this page may help you make informed choices about your pension savings, if you are unsure how the allowances may affect you, you should seek independent financial advice.
The Annual Allowance is the yearly amount of tax efficient pension savings you can build up in all registered pension schemes before a tax charge could arise. For most people, the Annual Allowance for tax years starting on/after 6 April 2023 is £60,000. If your pension savings in any given tax-year exceed the Annual Allowance you may have to pay an additional tax charge. Under some circumstances your Annual Allowance may be less than £60,000 – if for example you have already taken some money out of a defined contribution scheme, or your total income in a year is more than around £200,000. Lower limits apply to previous tax years.
Read more in our Pension tax – Annual Allowance leaflet.
The Lifetime Allowance is the total amount of registered pension scheme benefits you can build up over your working life before a tax charge may arise and is usually tested when you access your pension savings.
From 6 April 2020, the Lifetime Allowance is £1,073,100. There are tax protections available to enable you to maintain a higher personal Lifetime Allowance.
From 6 April 2023, the Lifetime Allowance tax charge is not being applied by HM Revenue and Customs. The Government has announced its intention to remove the Lifetime Allowance from 6 April 2024, however, no legislation has been drafted to do so and we do not know exactly what this will mean yet. Currently, even though the Lifetime Allowance tax charge is not being applied, in some circumstances benefits that are higher than the Lifetime Allowance are treated differently for tax purposes (for example the part of a lump sum paid on death that exceeds the Lifetime Allowance).
Find out more from the Pensions Advisory Service.
If you exceed the Annual Allowance, then your pension savings could be subject to an Annual Allowance tax charge. Currently no Lifetime Allowance charge is being applied. While some members want to avoid the tax charges completely and may opt out of the UUKPF in order to avoid them, others accept them and, usually with the help of independent financial advice, allow for them in their financial planning.