The Occupational Pension Schemes (United Kingdom Members) Regulations 2020 (Regulations) came into effect on 31 December last. The Regulations allow for the application of Irish social and labour laws to UK members of Irish schemes from that date. Amendments to tax legislation also mean that UK members can continue to contribute to Irish schemes which in turn retain their tax exempt status despite having UK members.
Throughout the transition period, UK based members of Irish pension schemes were provided with little clarity on how their benefits would be treated. This lingering issue has now been resolved by the new Regulations.
Summary of the Regulations
The Regulations confirm that all provisions of the Pensions Act 1990 (Act) will continue to apply to UK members of Irish occupational pension schemes except for Parts X and XII of the Act. UK social and labour laws will no longer apply to UK members of Irish schemes and they may instead avail of Irish social and labour laws.
Amendments to Tax legislation
The Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 (TCA) has also been amended to ensure that Irish schemes with UK members will retain their tax exempt status. This applies to those schemes that have obtained approval under Part XII (cross-border schemes) of the Act to accept contributions from EU based members including those from the UK. The amendments to the TCA also confirm that contributions to UK schemes on behalf of Irish members will continue to qualify for tax relief.
The Regulations and the amendments to the TCA, while not entirely unexpected, are surely to be welcomed by workers based in one country that contribute to a scheme based in the other. There is no doubt that new legal relationship between Ireland and the UK will create legal conundrums that have not yet been contemplated. We will keep you well apprised of any developments as soon as they occur.
For more information, please contact a member of our Pensions team.
The content of this article is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other advice.