Pension limits explained
In the UK there’s no cap on the amount of money taxpayers can save into a pension each year, however there is a limit on how much is tax-free. Whenever you make contributions to a pension you get tax relief from the government. This can come as extra money in your pot for the future, or a reduction in tax today, depending on the scheme you have in place. When you make contributions with PensionBee we will automatically add a 25% tax top up from HMRC.
Annual pension allowance
You can contribute up to 100% of your earnings to your pension each year or up to the annual allowance of £40,000 (2021/22). This means the total sum of any personal contributions, employer contributions and government tax relief received, can’t exceed the £40,000 annual pension allowance.
Contributions that exceed your annual salary or the £40,000 allowance are subject to an annual allowance charge in line with income tax. Under the right circumstances you may have the option to carry forward any unused allowances from the previous three years, totalling up to £120,000, on top of your current year’s annual alowance.
If you’re working full time and are nearing retirement it can be advisable to save as much as possible. Just don’t forget to double check how much of your allowance you’ve used in recent years and that any contribution is not higher than your earnings.
For those who have already begun drawing a pension, the annual allowance for contributions under the money purchase annual allowance (MPAA), may be capped at £4,000. You can find out more about MPAA on the Money Advice Service website.
If you have an income of over £240,000, including pension contributions, your annual pension allowance may be reduced. Additional rate taxpayers are most affected as for every £2 of income over £150,000, their annual allowance decreases by £1. The maximum reduction is £36,000 meaning the minimum resulting annual allowance would be no lower than £4,000.
Lifetime pension allowance
In addition to the annual pension allowance, a lifetime pension allowance is also applicable and places a limit on the value of pension benefits you can receive in a lifetime without having to pay excess tax. For 2021/22, the lifetime allowance is currently capped at £1,073,100, but this is set to increase in the future.
If you exceed the lifetime pension allowance you’ll be subject to an immediate tax whenever you take the excess benefits from your pension. 25% will be charged if paid as a pension or 55% if paid as a lump sum, plus income tax at your standard rate.
Drawing your pension
Once you reach age 55 or over (57 from 2028), you are eligible to start drawing your pension. You can take up to 25% as a tax-free lump sum, and will be charged income tax at your highest rate thereafter. Learn more about Drawdown from PensionBee today.
As always with investments, your capital is at risk. The value of your investment can go down as well as up, and you may get back less than you invest. This information should not be regarded as financial advice.
Last edited: 06-04-2021