To model cases where a client is eligible for lifetime allowance (LTA) protection, you can override the normal LTA assumptions using special settings on the Taxes screen.
In the People panel, to the right side of this screen, select the person to whom LTA protection will apply.
Or if this person already has other entries on the Taxes screen, select their entry first in the ledger to the right side of the screen to make further additions or edits.
Expand Pension Lifetime Allowance to model fixed, individual, primary or enhanced protection or to simply set the future LTA to an inflated amount.
To model fixed LTA protection:
Enter in the Year Claimed field the year in which your client applied (or will apply) for LTA protection.
The software will then auto-populate the protected lifetime allowance together with the normal tax free cash allowance. The LTA protection figures shown will be those from the year prior. For example, fixed protection 2016 offers a protected lifetime allowance of £1.25m, while fixed protection 2017 offers a protected allowance of £1m.
The software will auto-populate the amounts of fixed LTA protection and tax free cash dating back to fixed protection 2007, but fixed protection can be applied in whatever amounts you enter in the Protection Amount and Protected Tax Free Cash Amount fields if changes are needed in certain circumstances.
Note: After applying for fixed protection, your client would normally be restricted from making further pension contributions. Furthermore, the accrual of any active final salaries schemes for that person would also end with the application of fixed protection. Note that the software does not enforce this rule so to model fixed protection appropriately, in most cases, be sure to remove employee and employer contributions to any money purchases and any further accrual of final schemes, unless exceptions apply.
To model individual LTA protection:
Follow the same steps outlined above for modelling fixed protection.
Select Fixed and enter a Year Claimed, only amend the auto-calculated Protection Amount and Protected Tax Free Cash Amount to the usually lower levels provided by personal LTA protection.
Unlike fixed protection, persons who have applied for individual protection could make further contributions to their pensions and their final salary schemes could continue to accrue. Since the software does not impose contribution and accrual restrictions in any case, simply leave any planned contributions or accrual rates in place or add them, if applicable.
To model enhanced LTA protection:
No test will occur against the lifetime allowance and there should never be a lifetime allowance charge payable by clients eligible for enhanced protection. The assumption is, however, that only the regular level of tax free cash will be available when the pension is crystallised.
So in theory, if a client has enhanced protection and a pension fund of £2,000,000, no LTA overage charges would apply, no matter what the future balance of the pension becomes, but at current levels in 2016, the client would only be eligible for tax free cash withdrawals of up to £250,000. This tax free cash allowance is, however, escalated based on CPI from 2018 onward.
To model primary LTA protection:
Enter in the Protection Amount field the amount protected.
For Primary Protection, a lifetime allowance factor is calculated at the time of protection and this factor is applied to whatever lifetime allowance is in effect at the time of crystallization.
For example, if protection was granted in the amount of £1,500,000 when the current LTA is £1,000,000 (2016) then the protected LTA factor is 1,500,000 / 1,000,000 which equals 1.5. When funds are crystallized at a later date, this factor is multiplied by the LTA in effect at the later date to determine the protected LTA. For example, the future lifetime allowance has escalated to £1,100,000, which would result in a protected LTA of £1,100,000 X 1.5 = £1,650,000.
LTA protection and indexation of the future Lifetime Allowance
The standard lifetime allowance should index with CPI from 2018 onward. Once the protected lifetime allowance falls below the indexed standard allowance, the standard allowance (being the higher of the two) will be applied.
The lifetime allowance on pensions is currently set to £1 million and remains fixed through 2017, with escalation starting in 2018, as set using the Lifetime Allowance (LTA) Escalation assumption.
The software’s assumptions for the future escalation of the lifetime allowance are set in Preferences > Plan Preferences (to the right side of the screen) > Default Inflation / Growth Rates > Lifetime Allowance (LTA) Escalation %.
The 25% in eligible tax free cash withdrawals is also escalated at this rate and in accordance with these rules.
Lifetime allowance checks on final salary pensions
LTA protection also applies to defined benefit schemes.
The lifetime allowance check against final salaries is calculated by multiplying the projected final salary payment upon commencement by 20. This test is taken into account together with the crystallisation of money purchases.
If the lifetime allowance is breached, the tax on any overage is normally either deducted from the money purchase (or in some cases from drawdown pensions at age 75) or if the overage is the result of a final salary benefit, the tax may be charged to the client as a one-off expense.
LTA Tests - Setting final salary benefits to be crystallised before money purchases
If in a given year the lifetime allowance test is being performed on a combination final salary schemes and money purchases and you would prefer the final salary tests to be performed first, a preference is available in Preferences > Plan Preferences (to the right side of the screen). Expand Calculation Settings and tick "Crystallise Final Salary before MP [Money Purchase]".
Preference - Crystallise final salaries before money purchases
Retirement Income (Webinar 2)
First Published 14 February 2016, Release 4.1.5