What is the MPAA? How does it differ from the Annual Allowance?

The MPAA was introduced in 2015 and relates to money purchase pension contributions. It applies to anyone who accesses their pension benefits on a flexible basis – or in other words, makes a draw down and takes income from their pension pot. This affects the type of pension schemes that you can generally draw from age 55, not the old style final salary schemes which are now becoming rare. The MPAA is effectively the tax allowable amount you are permitted to pay in to your pension in each tax year.

The Annual Allowance (AA) is the maximum that anyone can pay into a money purchase pension scheme in each tax year and obtain tax relief on and is currently set at £40,000. Think of this is the upper ceiling limit.

The Money Purchase Annual Allowance (MPAA) limit was reduced to £4,000 on 6th April 2017. But this limit only kicks in when you take actual income from your pension pot not when you take your entitlement to tax free cash.

What does this mean for me?

Well, the good news is that it may not affect you at all.

If you are over 55 and have taken nothing or only ever drawn the tax free amount from your pension pot (i.e. no more than 25% of your fund) then you will not be affected by the MPAA limit. You will still be able to obtain tax relief on the full £40,000 Annual Allowance of additional pension contributions.

However, if you have taken any more than the tax free amount (even just £1 as income) then in most cases your annual pension allowance will be restricted down by the MPAA for the rest of your life – something that’s extremely important for you to be aware of.

These days, money purchase pension arrangements allow you great flexibility and if you are a higher rate taxpayer making lump sum additional pension contributions is a great way to go. Remember, subject to the limits discussed, if you pay tax at 40% then for every 60p you pay in to your pension the government will add 40p by way of a reduction in your tax. If you are over 55 you can then draw 25p of that £1 back out immediately.

If you can only pay £4k in however as opposed to £10k or even £40k then the advantage of using this option becomes very limited.

Where else can I get information about MPAA?

If you’re concerned about your financial situation in the run up to retirement, our legal and wealth management services team at THP can help.Call 0800 6520 025 to speak to a member of the THP team today – we look forward to hearing from you!

Need further advice on any of the topics being discussed? Get in touch and see how we can help.

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    Since joining THP in 1978, Jon Pryse-Jones has been hands on with every area of the business. Now specialising in strategy, business planning, and marketing, Jon remains at the forefront of the growth and development at THP.

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