The maximum amount you are allowed to build up in your pension is £1.03 million, at which point you hit the current lifetime allowance. A charge of 55% will be applied to any amount over this when you take it out.
While this may seem like a large pension to some, workers who earn £80,000 could be breaching the lifetime allowance without being aware of it.
The number of those doing just that has doubled, contributing to a rise of £70 million of tax being paid to HM Revenue & Customs.
Approximately 500,000 could be at risk according to estimates. Teachers, middle managers, accountants and public sector workers with final salary pensions are some of the common professions that could be affected.
It's easier than you may think to go over the £1.03 million allowance for those that have final salary pensions. For example, a teacher that has a final salary pension of £60,000 per year would be multiplied by 20 by HMRC in order to compare it to the lifetime allowance, which would be £1.2 million. In this example, the individual would need to pay £93,500 if taken as a lump sum, or £42,500 if taken as an income.
Pension savings in addition to final salary arrangements can also add up and trigger the charge.
You can protect yourself from charges, by utilising Individual Protection 2016 or Fixed Protection 2016. Individual Protection 2016 allows those that had a pension worth more than £1 million at April 5, 2016 to bump their allowance to £1.25 million. Fixed Protection 2016 fixes your allowance at £1.25 million, and no more contributions can be made.
Your Financial Adviser can construct a financial plan for you that will enable you to meet your financial goals and that is appropriate for your risk appetite.
The value of investments and income from them may go down as well as up and you may not get back the original amount invested.
A pension is a long-term investment. The fund value may fluctuate and can go down. Your eventual income may depend upon the size of the fund at retirement, future interest rates and tax legislation.