As reported, the new S157E pensions regime provides for a “one-size-fits-all” pension that could be open to islanders and non-residents alike – with no Guernsey tax due on benefits paid – in order to address a concerns raised by HM Revenue & Customs in December.
Stephen Ainsworth, president of the Guernsey Association of Pension Providers (GAPP), said the passage of the new pensions was “the culmination of more than three months of intensive activity by the Guernsey pensions industry, government and the Guernsey Income Tax Office, all working together to create a new pensions regime which meets the needs of both Guernsey residents and non residents, and which is fully compliant with the new QROPS requirements being introduced by HMRC from 6th April”.
Addressing last week’s release by HMRC of the final version of its new regulations, known to some in the industry as OPSMAR [Overseas Pension Schemes Miscellaneous Amendments Regulations 2012], Ainsworth aid he was “disappointed” that the tax authority had failed to make material changes to the requirements — unveiled for industry consultation on 6th December 2011 — “despite the reservations expressed by many pensions professionals, including the submission made by GAPP”. However, he said he was pleased that the final OPSMAR published last week at least introduced no additional requirements for QROPS to satisfy.
" This means that the Guernsey solution remains effective and ensures that Guernsey can remain the leading jurisdiction for QROPS transfers."
As for a comment contained in last week’s Budget Statement itself, concerning possible additional legislation to be introduced in the 2013 Finance Bill, Ainsworth said it was “extremely opaque”.
“We assume that territories such as Guernsey are not being targeted, and that the targets are the less conservative jurisdictions [that seek] to exploit QROPS transfers as tax incentivised savings, rather than bona fide pension provision.
“We look forward to some clarification from HMRC over the coming months.”
The new law may be viewed on the States of Guernsey website by clicking here.