Registered pension and life assurance scheme trustees and administrators face HMRC changes a year earlier than planned.

HMRC recently announced, as part of its pension scheme efficiency drive, that it will move existing scheme administrator data onto the new Pension Online Digital Service by April 2018 – a year earlier than originally planned. This will affect all registered group life assurance schemes operated by employers, as well as registered pension schemes.

Legal firm Gowling WLG advises those employers with HMRC registered schemes to ensure their details are up to date now to avoid any potential loss of tax privileges after the migration.

The scheme administrator details that HMRC already holds will be cleansed and moved onto the new system automatically. This means that if those details are out of date, missing, or where scheme administrator IDs have become inactive through underuse, HMRC may not be able to transfer the necessary details over. If this happens, the scheme administrator will need to re-register as a new user after April 2018. Failure to do so could place the registered status of the scheme at risk.

If registration is lost, the scheme will lose its tax privileges and may have to pay a substantial tax penalty.

Kevin Gude, Director at Gowling WLG, said: “HMRC is asking all scheme administrators to log in to its current online service to check that current administrator details are up to date. In order to do this, the scheme administrator must already have obtained ID details from HMRC – a process that should have been undertaken when their scheme was first established, or reports submitted to HMRC, after April 2006.”

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