Maybe Hammond did us all a favour with his QROPS tax


It wasn’t just the 4m self-employed who faced a tax-hike following the April budget. Expats resident outside Europe now face an uphill struggle to receive their retirement income tax-free via a QROPS.

I follow these offshore pension stories with the peculiar prurience I read Health and Effeciency as an 11 year old, I’m just waiting for the naughty bits to pop-out,

With QROPS, you don’t have to wait long. The offshore British dependencies are populated by online betting companies and financial  alchemists capable of turning Gold into Base Metal through the transformative UCIS structure.

Sadly, the prospect of an Exempt-Exempt-Exempt pension taxation structure blinds mature adults to the eventual destination of their money. I met an Egyptian once who tried to convince me to buy a melon farm near Aswam, when I discovered it was 90 metres under the Aswam dam, he countered I’d be harvesting water melons.

If you want to read this financial pornography, go to Angie Brooks brilliant Angie is in deadly earnest as she protects people from the double whammy of losing their savings and paying tax on their losses.

Hammonds QROPS tax, which means the allure of the QROPS transfer is tarnished by a 25% tax-hit before it leaves the UK, is a blow to the alchemists and a will hopefully be a wake-up call to a few lucky ex-pats whose money has yet to be shipped out to a Cape Verde parking lot.

It may also be a reminder to Brits thinking of retiring abroad that (financially at least) the tax-breaks earned in the UK need to be re-paid in Britain. For the QROPS EEE is not a victimless tax-avoidance scheme – it is precisely the kind of tax-fiddle that got 52% of Brits sufficiently wound up to vote BREXIT. Remember the first and strongest supporter of Remain to be announced that night – Gibralter!

I am sick and tired of the high-cost low value tax-scams which flop into my inbox on a regular basis. They largely replace taxation with an unofficial franking of investments by the QROP conmen (Stephen Ward and pals).

Where QROPS are legitimate, they tend to be organised through employers as an alternative to local workplace savings plans. Employers either exercise fiscal control and investment due diligence or they face the wrath of the employee and the taxman. You need a trusted intermediary and employers tend to be just that.

If you are in any doubt about the direction of travel for UK-expats , look at the American system operated by the IRS. The link with the American tax-authorities is permanent and uncompromising. BREXIT drives the train down those tracks.

I’m not shedding any tears over this tax-hike. Good old spreadsheet Phil has got it right with his 25% tax-shocker. Let’s hope there’s more in the locker next autumn


Thanks to Helen Burgraf for this fine cartoon from 2013


About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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2 Responses to Maybe Hammond did us all a favour with his QROPS tax

  1. David Binns says:

    Excellent. When I lived in Dubai I enjoyed the “pleasure” of having a coffee and a chat (aka a hard sell) with the QROPS sales people, the investment gurus offering Ostrich farm opportunities in PRC, the 15 year investment (divestment!!) bond alchemists and the purveyors of “can’t loose” Structured Notes. Drank a lot of coffee but my cheque book stayed in my pocket. Happy times……………………………………

  2. My concern now is that these offshore advisers will now market SIPPs. I have just seen a “marketing company” in the UK email non-UK advisers to say that they can continue earning the same commissions as QROPS by using the SIPP that they distribute.

    Given that UK IFAs have to fund the FSCS levy and then often have to pick up the tag for a non-UK firm that used a UK regulated product ( Brooklands SIPP- now getting FSCS claims for just this type of thing ), this is a worrying development.

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