Overseas Pension Information for Expats – Tax Havens For British Expats and Money Transfer

Written by admin on May 22nd, 2011

During the past decade over 5.5 million Brits have left the UK in search of a better life overseas. Many have been financially hit hard by the recent economic downturn and the weakening on the British pound.

It has had a huge impact on incomes of those who rely heavily on a British pension or other source of income to keep them afloat whilst living overseas. Despite this financial negative many Brit’s are still keen to emigrate abroad.

Spain, Portugal and Cyprus are the most popular destinations for British Expats, none however are generally considered as tax havens but do offer significant tax benefits over living and receiving a pension in the UK.

In Britain by the time a pensioner reaches 75 they are forced to buy an annuity or to go into a restrictive alternative secured pension regime, this is not compulsory if you are living abroad. Financial experts are now claiming that offshore pensions will be the next big thing. The rules of these pensions do not include obligatory annuity purchasing; they are tax free lump sums and allow pensioners far more freedom to invest into residential property and to take a more flexible income. On top of this potentially they can be free of all UK taxes on death.

If you want to move your pension overseas and make the most of the tax advantages firstly you must move your funds to a qualifying recognised overseas pension plan which was first introduced two years ago. Once your money is in one of these schemes it is no longer subject to HMRC rules. The pension provider must report your dealings to HMRC until you have been a non UK resident for 5 years. One huge benefit of opting to go into one of these schemes is that you are not obligated to receive your income in sterling which is currently a major problem for some many pensioners living overseas thanks to the weak pound.

Key benefits of opting into a qualifying recognised overseas pension plan:
• Tax free roll up pension plan.
• Funds will be held outside of wealth tax and overseas succession taxes.
• No requirement to buy an insurance annuity so that the fund can pass to benefit your heirs.
• No PAYE on the pension.
• No inheritance tax on the fund upon your death. It will continue to benefit your heirs.
• This fund can provide an annuity from a segregated part or from all of the fund.
• You can receive your income in a different currency thus avoiding expensive money transfers.

Do be aware that in some countries you are liable for wealth tax. In France you are taxed on the full value of all of your worldwide possessions. Portugal and Italy do not have wealth taxes.

If you are currently living overseas and rely on an income for the UK if you choose not to opt into one of these overseas pensions plans there are other ways of making your money go further. Spend time researching different money transfer providers who can help you transfer your money overseas with little or no fees. Using a money transfer broker instead of a bank to transfer money overseas will not only save you on international payment fees but the exchange rates they offer are far more competitive than the banks.

Vicki Kin

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