HMRC announces more QROPS rule Changes

A new batch of Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) rules have been quietly issued by HM Revenue and Customs.

QROPS providers were dreading the new rules, but they amount to no more than a number of behind-the-scenes technical and administrative changes that have no impact on retirement savers.

The big fear was the announcement could herald more changes for investors and that QROPS schemes could be delisted in another night of the long knives like in April 2012, when more than 300 QROPS were axed says website QROP.org

Rumours in the industry persist that HMRC is displeased with the administration and marketing of some schemes.

Only two weeks ago, 23 Hong Kong QROPS were delisted – and as yet no reason for their suspension or removal has been given.

No policy update

“We do not comment on individual QROPS schemes,” was the only response an HMRC spokesman would make about the matter.

The next QROPS list is due for publication on August 15, 2013, so providers will have a chance to see if any Hong Kong QROPS are reinstated.

However, no such upset is in the pipeline – unless the long-awaited publication of HMRC’s QROPS policy passed to the High Court includes some major shocks.

To date, the content of the documents has not been revealed, nor the result of the case published.

HMRC was attempting to enforce tax assessments against investors in a delisted Singapore ROSIIP QROPS, but pulled out of the case more than a month ago.

QROPS online

The latest announcement deals with redesigned back-office forms for QROPS administrators, which were released some weeks ago and confirmation of a new online service for QROPS scheme administrators aimed at speeding up the delivery of information to HMRC.

As part of the QROPS online service, scheme trustees will be allocated a unique ID that will let them access the system, together with government gateway passwords.

The online scheme registration service will not start until December 2013.

One problem HMRC has identified over QROPS administration is that withdrawals and transfers out of the pensions are not notified to HMRC fast enough for tax inspectors to take action in the event of suspect money switches.

The online reporting system is aimed to alert HMRC earlier to QROPS issues.

Full details of the QROPS pension changes were announced in an n HMRC newsletter to pension professionals – click here to read the notification