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Pension
Rules

Here's all the latest updates for UK pensions in one place

Pension and tax rules can change, so it’s a good idea to stay informed in case any changes affect your plans.

2021

State Pension triple lock suspended

State Pension increases are normally based on the triple lock rule. This means State Pension income rises by the greater of wage growth, inflation (CPI), or 2.5% each year. On Tuesday 7 September, the Government confirmed plans to suspend this rule for one year. This means the State Pension will only rise by the greater or inflation or 2.5%. Inflation (CPI) rose 3.1% in the 12 months to September 2021, therefore State Pension income will rise by this amount from April 2022.

Lifetime allowance freeze

The lifetime allowance (LTA) usually rises in line with inflation each year. However during the Autumn Budget, the chancellor confirmed it will be frozen at £1,073,100 until April 2026.

2020

Lifetime allowance increased

The lifetime allowance increased in line with inflation from £1,055,000 to £1,073,100 on 6 April 2020.

Annual allowance for high earners reduced further, but earnings thresholds increased

With effect from 6 April, the amount of money you could add to your pension each year was reduced further if you’re a high earner, but the earning limits for when this applies was increased. This is because of changes made to the tapered annual allowance rules. The ‘threshold income’ limit was increased to £200,000 (up from £110,000) and ‘Adjusted income’ limit to £240,000 (up from £150,000). This means if you have an adjusted income over £240,000 you could see your annual allowance reduced. The minimum annual allowance has been reduced to just £4,000 if you have adjusted income of £312,000 or more.

2019

Lifetime allowance increased

The lifetime allowance increased in line with inflation from £1.055 million on 6 April 2019.

2018

Scottish income tax introduced

There are now five tax bands for Scottish taxpayers. This affects the amount of tax relief some Scottish taxpayers are able to claim.

Lifetime allowance increased

The lifetime allowance increased in line with inflation from £1 million to £1.03 million on 6 April 2018.

Get your lifetime allowance factsheet

2017

Money purchase annual allowance reduced

The ‘money purchase annual allowance’ for pension contributions was reduced from £10,000 to £4,000.

If you’ve flexibly accessed your pension since 5 April 2015 or have been in flexible drawdown since before 6 April 2015, you might be affected.

Download your annual allowance factsheet

2016

Annual allowance reduced

The amount of money you could add to your pension each year was reduced for high earners. For most people the limit is still £40,000, but this change means it could be as low as £10,000 for some people.

Get your annual allowance factsheet

Lifetime allowance reduced

The lifetime allowance was also lowered from £1.25 million to £1 million.

Download your lifetime allowance factsheet

2015

Money purchase annual allowance introduced

The money purchase annual allowance (MPAA) was first introduced in 2015. It means anyone who has flexibly accessed a pension can only contribute up to £10,000 to their pension in that tax year. From 6 April 2017, the MPAA dropped to £4,000.

Pension freedoms introduced

In 2015 the government made sweeping changes so that pensions could be more flexible and accessible. The 2015 changes are sometimes called the ‘pension freedoms’, and you can take advantage of all of them with the HL SIPP.

More flexibility

You now have more choice when it comes to taking money from your pension. From your 55th birthday (57th from 2028).

You can:

  • Take your whole pension out in one go - 25% will normally be tax free and the rest taxed as income
  • Take smaller lump sums as and when you like – 25% of each withdrawal is normally tax free and the rest taxed as income
  • Take up to 25% tax free and a regular taxable income from the rest (via an annuity or drawdown)

You can also take your tax-free cash straight away and your taxable income via drawdown at a later date. Please remember that your pension may need to last you throughout your retirement and tax benefits depend on your circumstances.

Pass your pension on tax free

If you die before 75, your loved ones can now receive money from your pension tax free. If you die after 75, any withdrawals they make will be taxed as income. There’s more information on this page: What happens to your pension when you die?

Tax cuts for spouses and partners

If you die before you’re 75 and you have a lifetime annuity, your spouse or partner will no longer have to pay UK income tax on it. A joint-life or dependant’s annuity can now be paid to anyone after you die, subject to any restrictions from your annuity provider.

Free pension guidance

The government started a free and impartial help service called Pension Wise to help you make sense of your retirement options. It’s provided by Citizens Advice and the Pensions Advisory Service.

Learn more about Pension Wise