Although Guernsey achieved independence in the 13th Century and has its own Government and consequently its own tax laws, it still retains many links with the rest of Britain. For these reasons people feel confident in investing their money and their pensions in Guernsey. As such, it has become one of the most attractive financial centres in the world, not only because of its political and economic stability, but also because of the many financial advantages.
In terms of QROPS, Guernsey offers the following benefits:
– For non Guernsey residents there is no income tax, capital gains tax or inheritance tax to pay on QROPS pensions.
– You can take a tax free lump sum of up to 25% from your QROPS pension fund, and Guernsey is currently trying to increase this to 30%..
– You can start to withdraw regular amounts from your pension fund from the age of 55. This can be paid directly into your bank account.
– You will not be required to purchase an annuity when you reach the age of 75, which means that you can leave more of your pension fund to your dependants.
– Financial service providers in Guernsey are strictly regulated and overseas pensions in Guernsey have to meet HMRC requirements in order to be regarded as QROPS schemes.
– You are free to choose which currency you receive your pension payments in, so if for example you retire to a country with Euros as the currency, such as Spain or France, you can make pension withdrawals in Euros.
Apart from the benefits discussed above, Guernsey also offers a range of investment opportunities for your QROPS pension as the rules in Guernsey permit many forms of worldwide investments. These form a broader range than those offered by UK pensions and can include: cash accounts, equities, gilts, bonds, property, unit trusts and investment trusts amongst others. A qualified QROPS advisor can discuss the relative merits of the various investment options with you.
When it comes to financial reputation, Guernsey has been internationally recognised. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) published a report in November 2003 in which the law enforcement standards and financial regulation in Guernsey were commended. This report found that Guernsey demonstrated a superior level of compliance in relation to specific international standards. In 2008 the Income Tax Office in Guernsey modified its pension rules following consultation with HMRC, and has subsequently become regarded as one of the preferred QROPS locations.
If you are thinking of moving abroad for a period of at least five years and wish to discuss Guernsey Qrops in more detail, please consult your QROPS advisor. Please note that for periods of less than five years, transfer to a QROPS pension is less likely to be financially beneficial as you would have to report any pension withdrawals to HMRC. However, in some circumstances a transfer within this period is still financially rewarding.