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Can I transfer my pension?

I have a UK based private pension, but can I transfer my pension elsewhere?

Can I transfer my pension?

Yes. But whether should or not is a different matter.

Transferring your UK pension abroad is generally only advisable if you are absolutely sure that you do not want to return to the UK. If you might become a UK resident in retirement, then you must consider very carefully whether you want your pension to be administered offshore (often carrying transfer costs and higher ongoing costs).

Residents in the UK will pay UK taxes on their pension no matter where the pension is held. Equally, residents abroad will pay UK taxes on pensions if the pension remains in the UK.

Assuming you are sure you wish to retire abroad, your pension is most likely to be accepted as such where you decide to settle if it is ‘in consideration of past employment’. Many countries make a distinction between this type of pension and a SIPP for example. You may be subject to unexpected taxes from the country in which you choose to be a resident unless you plan ahead.

A successful pension transfer depends on:

  • Having a good pensions adviser, properly qualified to assist in international transfers.
  • Choosing the right jurisdiction based on your planned country of residence
  • Choosing the right pension type and trust
  • Understanding the taxes you must pay

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Last updated: 2 April 2019 at 08:29