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QROPS update as another SMSF joins the ROPS list

DBA Lawyers is pleased to announce that an existing self managed superannuation fund (‘SMSF’) with members over 55 years of age has been added to the recognised overseas pension scheme (‘ROPS’) list.

QROPS update as another SMSF joins the ROPS list

Background

Under UK law, an Australian superannuation fund must satisfy the requirements of a qualified recognised overseas pension scheme (‘QROPS’) to be able to receive a transfer of funds from a UK pension scheme. Where the superannuation fund has been recognised by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (‘HMRC’) to comply with such requirements, the superannuation fund is placed on the ROPS list.

On 6 April 2015 new UK laws were introduced requiring, among other things, that overseas pension schemes, such as Australian superannuation funds, had to comply with the pension age test. Broadly, this test prohibits a payment to a member under 55 years unless he or she meets the UK definition of ‘ill health’, which is similar but stricter than the Australian definition of ‘permanent incapacity’ in regulation 1.03C of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Regulations 1994 (Cth) (‘SISR’).

Given the broad range of cashing events that can be utilised prior to 55 years of age under the SISR, the HMRC decided that Australian superannuation funds could not comply with the UK laws. As such, all Australian superannuation funds (including SMSFs) were removed from the ROPS list in early July 2015 apart from one public sector fund.

We have since been working on a solution for SMSFs including lodging a submission with the HMRC to outline how SMSFs can comply with the new QROPS rules.

A new SMSF added to ROPS list on 1-9-2015

The addition of an Australian SMSF to the ROPS list on 1 September 2015 demonstrated that a newly established SMSF could satisfy the new QROPS rules where the fund’s membership was restricted to persons who had already attained 55 years or over. DBA Lawyers did not assist with this fund.

An existing SMSF added to ROPS list on 15-9-2015

As noted above, an existing SMSF (ie, an SMSF that has merely had its deed updated with a special restricted deed of variation where membership is restricted to those who have attained 55 years or over) was added to the ROPS list on 15 September 2015.

We now offer a special tailored deed of variation and related documents for existing or new SMSFs (that only has members who have attained 55 years or over) to apply to be placed on the ROPS list.

If an SMSF has members who are below 55 years, we can also assist with documents to exit these members so the SMSF can satisfy the QROPS rules for the 55+ members.

Further SMSFs are likely to be added soon

Where an SMSF only has members who have attained 55 years or over that need to effect a UK pension transfer, then provided they have an appropriate SMSF deed and complete the requisite UK forms, they should also qualify and be recognised on the ROPS list whether the fund is newly established or a variation of an existing SMSF.

This is welcome relief for many who have had their UK pension transfers on hold.

The current status for those under 55 years who wish to effect a UK pension transfer to an Australian superannuation fund is discussed below.

Funds with members under 55 years of age

We are continuing to seek HMRC approval regarding the ability for SMSFs with members who are under the age of 55 to qualify as a QROPS. We have no certainty on when this approval may eventuate. Naturally, we will keep our clients updated via our regular newsfeed and seminar presentations.

If you would like further information, please contact our office.

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