Abolishing the lifetime allowance

What is changing from 6 April 2024?

The lifetime allowance was the maximum value of pension benefits you can access without incurring a charge. It was a way of limiting the overall value of the pension tax advantages you could benefit from, and applied to the total value of all pension pots that you held. Your state pension entitlement was excluded from lifetime allowance consideration.

In March 2023, it was announced that the lifetime allowance was to be abolished, and the lifetime allowance charge (the charge payable on any of your pension benefits in excess of the lifetime allowance) was removed from April 2023.

From 06 April 2024, the lifetime allowance was abolished, with three new allowances coming into force that we explain below.

We strongly recommend that you speak with a regulated financial adviser to understand more about how these regulatory changes may impact you and your pension.

An update from HMRC

The lifetime allowance abolishment

The lifetime allowance is being abolished from 06 April 2024, however as you may be aware, there have been some challenges faced by platforms, advisers and clients in navigating the new rules due to delays receiving guidance from HMRC.

On 4 April, HMRC released a newsletter in which it advises some clients to delay taking benefits, or transferring their pension until it can remedy incorrect legislation.

HMRC advise that certain groups of people should delay action until regulations are passed through Parliament to correct the legislation. Those affected by HMRC’s advice relate to any cash which involves:

  • scheme specific tax-free cash protection
  • a transfer with enhanced protection
  • enhanced protection and primary protection cases with protected lump sum rights of more than £375,000
  • the payment of a lump sum death benefit from funds which crystallised before 6 April 2024
  • any transfer from drawdown to a QROPS
  • any transfer to a QROPS which involves pre-April 2006 benefits.

In respect of the above cases, HMRC state that ‘schemes should advise members to request a delay to the payment/defer their request to transfer’. Therefore, if you believe that you fall into one of the scenarios above, please contact your financial adviser. If you do not have a financial adviser, please contact us directly at 0370 414 7000. Please select option 8 when calling.

Lump Sum Allowance (LSA)

The LSA is set at £268,275 for the 2024/2025 tax year, unless you have transitional protection (you can read more about this below). The LSA limits the amount of tax-free lump sums that you may receive from all registered pension schemes during your lifetime.

These lump sum payments will also count towards your Lump Sum and Death Benefit Allowance (LSDBA) and include lump sums such as:

Any lump sums in excess of the LSA are subject to income tax at your marginal income tax rate.

Lump Sum and Death Benefit Allowance (LSDBA)

The LSDBA limits the amount that can be taken as a tax-free lump sum payable from all of your registered pension schemes, over your lifetime or following death before age 75. The LSDBA is set at £1,073,100 for the 2024/2025 tax year, unless you hold transitional protection.

The lump sums that are tested against the LSDBA include:

  • Pension Commencement Lump Sum (PCLS)
  • Non-taxable element of Uncrystallised Funds Pension Lump Sum (UFPLS)
  • Serious Ill-Health Lump Sum, if paid from uncrystallised funds and to an individual under age 75
  • Lump sum death benefits, where a member dies under age 75 and the claim is settled within 2 years and funds derived from uncrystallised funds or funds crystallised post 5 April 2024. This doesn’t include any lump sum death benefits paid as a Charity Lump Sum Death Benefit or Trivial Commutation Lump Sum Death Benefit.

Any lump sum taken during your lifetime which is within the LSDBA is tax-free.

If you pass away before age 75, lump sum death benefits would be tax free if paid within 2 years of the notification of death up to your remaining LSDBA. If you pass away after age 75, all lump sums would be liable to income tax at your beneficiaries’ marginal income tax rate.


Overseas Transfer Allowance (OTA)

The OTA is a limit on transfers to a qualifying recognised overseas pension scheme (ROPS). The OTA for the 2024/2025 tax year is £1,073,100. If you exceed this allowance, you will be subject to an overseas transfer charge of 25%.

Some transfers to a ROPS may already be subject to a 25% overseas transfer charge. The current overseas transfer exclusion requirements are:

  • Member and receiving scheme in the same country
  • Receiving scheme in European Economic Area (EEA) state or Gibraltar & member resident in United Kingdom (UK) or EEA
  • Receiving scheme is an occupational scheme
  • Receiving scheme set up by an international organisation
  • Receiving scheme is an overseas public service scheme

Where an overseas transfer does not meet the exclusion requirements above, the entire transfer value will be subject to an overseas transfer charge of 25% and will not reduce the OTA.


Transitional arrangements

A Transitional Tax-Free Amount (TTFA) Certificate is provided by a registered pension scheme, following receipt of complete evidence, to show an individual’s lump sum transitional tax-free amount and lump sum and death benefit transitional tax-free amount.

An individual, or a personal representative, can apply for a TTFA certificate from a registered pension scheme where the individual is a member or, if the individual is deceased, of which the individual was a member immediately before death.

In order to obtain a TTFA, the applicant will need to provide complete evidence of any lump sums or lump sum and death benefits in respect of any pension the client has been a member of. The scheme administrator will use this evidence to determine the client’s transitional lump sum tax-free amount and transitional lump sum and death benefit tax-free amount and issue a certificate, or decline the application.

To obtain a TTFA, please contact us.

Contact us

If you have utilised 100% or more of your Lifetime Allowance then you will have no Lump Sum Allowance or Lump Sum and Death Benefit Allowance remaining.

The type of protection that you hold determines what new rules are in place and how the Lump Sum Allowance (LSA) and Lump Sum and Death Benefit Allowance (LSDBA) are impacted.

The restriction on clients being unable to take a UFPLS due to holding an enhancement factor has been removed and they will be able to take UFPLS payments from 6 April 2024.

For the following protection types, the standard LSDBA of £1,073,100 is replaced by their personal LSDBA and the standard Lump Sum Allowance is 25% of this.

Protection Held LSDBA LSA
Fixed Protection 2012 £1,800,000 £450,000
Fixed Protection 2014 £1,500,000 £375,000
Individual Protection 2014 Personalised LTA amount 25% of personalised LTA amount
Fixed Protection 2016 £1,250,000 £312,500
Individual Protection 2014 Personalised LTA amount 25% of personalised LTA amount

For those clients with protection types not outlined above, there are more complex rules in place. Please contact your financial adviser to learn more.

The deadline for applying for Fixed Protection 2016 and Individual Protection 2016 is 5 April 2025. You can no longer apply for any other forms of protection. All other enhancement factors, such as Pension Credit Factors, cannot be applied for from 6 April 2024.