Tax affects almost all aspects of pension scheme operations, from investment to accrual and benefit design. Reductions in the annual and lifetime allowances, and the complexities associated with individual and fixed protection, mean more members are now being affected by pensions tax, and in a larger variety of ways. This drives a need for more creative solutions.
Our lawyers are specialists in helping schemes and employers deal with the growing complexity in this area. We have acted for the sponsors of some of the UK's largest pension funds, helping them develop flexible and innovative new benefit structures and responses to the "freedom and choice" tax reforms for defined contribution benefits. We are skilled in assisting employers, trustees and scheme administrators with traditional pension taxation issues as well, such as HMRC investigations, tax compliance for benefit payments and errors, and liability management exercises.
We field specialists with deep experience in the developing field of pension scheme VAT. Our lawyers sit on industry groups that have actively engaged with HMRC following the CJEU's ATP and PPG decisions, and have been sought after by employers and trustees looking to stay ahead of the game in this area. We advise pension scheme trustees in relation to tax implications on a range of investment issues including on investment in private equity and other limited partnerships, co-ordinating US tax advice, forming new investment structures for pension scheme pool proposals (including local government schemes), and investments in infrastructure and other major projects.
"They are always easy to work with and very thorough and professional."
Chambers UK, 2017
- Advising a number of trustees on the potential impact of recent UK and European VAT case law, including PPG, ATP, Wheels and United Biscuits.
- Advising trustees on the implications of VAT grouping with the employer group, including the risk of joint and several liability.
- Advising GLIL Infrastructure LLP on the tax implications of its further fund-raising round, which has increased its total deployable capital to £1.275billion.
- Advising trustees how to go about registering for VAT, and considering when the reverse charge mechanism might arise on services provided by non-UK advisers/fund managers etc.
- Advising a company providing investment management advice to trustees of DC schemes on whether the services it provides are VAT exempt as a consequence of the ATP case.
We participate in a wide range of pensions industry groups.