HMRC – pay up on your pension promises!

Ros Altmann new.png

I’m a member of the Net Pay Action Group and I’m going to hold this Government to the promise it made in the Conservative Party Manifesto. We have a “pre-cooked” way to stop 1.7m low earners being diddled out of incentives which were promised but aren’t being delivered.

It won’t cost much to fix the system -£10m

It won’t cost payrolls or HR systems or provider record keepers a bean

It can be done quickly and draw a line under the monthly rip-off.

And implementing this quickly will save the Treasury a lot more than implementing slowly!

This is what we have to say..

Campaigners urge government to act quickly on pensions injustice pledge

Leading pensions and tax experts are calling on the Government to act quickly to deliver its manifesto promise1 to fix an unfair tax flaw. This flaw means around 1.7 million low-income workers (mostly women) are being unfairly charged 25 per cent more for their pensions as a result of the way their employer pension scheme operates.

The Net Pay Action Group (NPAG)2 – made up of pension providers, lawyers, tax specialists, payroll specialists, employers, consumer groups and policy experts – has warned that this issue threatens to damage public confidence in auto-enrolment, widen the gender pensions gap, and let down those who need to increase their retirement savings most.

Many pension schemes provide the government-funded savings incentives (generally thought of as tax relief) through a system called relief at source (RAS), enabling lower earners to get the taxpayer-funded contribution to their pension automatically. But other pension providers add this money through a net-pay arrangement, which works well for most people, but not for those who earn less than the £12,500 threshold for paying income tax. These people miss out on the taxpayer-funded contribution to their pensions they would otherwise be entitled to and they end up paying it themselves.

As a first step, the Net Pay Action Group is calling on the Government to provide a firm timeline for its pledged review of the system and commit to implementing a solution. It is urging the Government to consider the action group’s proposed solution of a system that would allow HMRC to identify which savers, earning below the income tax threshold, have contributed to a net-pay scheme. HMRC could then provide that government savings incentive, worth 25% of each low-paid worker’s pension contribution, through an existing process3.

Commenting, former Pensions Minister, Baroness Ros Altmann, a member of the Net Pay Action Group, said:

“I’m delighted that the Government has committed to addressing this problem and hope urgent action will be taken to give these low-paid workers, including over one million women, the pension incentives they need and deserve.”

And here’s the nitty gritty

1. The 2019 General Election Conservative manifesto stated: “A number of workers, disproportionately women, who earn between £10,000 and £12,500 have been missing out on pension benefits because of a loophole affecting people with net pay pension schemes. We will conduct a comprehensive review to look at how to fix this issue.” For the full text please click here (p16)
The members of the Net Pay Action Group are: Low Incomes Tax Reform Group, Baroness Ros Altmann, The Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals, AgeWage, NOW: Pensions, The People’s Pension, Pension and Lifetime Savings Association, The Investing and Saving Alliance, Association of British Insurers, Trades Union Congress, Age UK, Royal London, Smart Pension, The Pensions Administration Standards Association, Legal & General Investment Management, Ruston Smith
The NPAG has put forward a remedy, which we believe would be both simple and comprehensive. It requires HMRC to use the data it already collects via PAYE real-time information (RTI) to identify, after the year end, those who have contributed to an NPA scheme and who have not earned enough to obtain taxpayer incentive. HMRC could then provide that sum via the informal P800 process (or those in Self Assessment could claim relief via their return). This would result in the extra money paid into the pension by these low earners being refunded to them, or that refund being offset against a tax liability. Further details of this proposal are set out here.

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
This entry was posted in pensions and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to HMRC – pay up on your pension promises!

  1. If it wasn’t @HMTreasury s idea, it won’t happen.

  2. P D BEATTIE says:

    ‘Pensions Promise’ is bad and ‘false news’ when used by our DWP and backed by the flawed laws of Gordon Brown of 1997 period. We were told that our ‘DB pensions’ were secure back to our NRD and because of non-payment from schemes ‘in deficit’ this was challenged by Judicial Review that supported our pensions payments/rights and also supported by a Parliamentary Ombudsman report saying the pensions were paid for and should be payed! If a government do not like a decision in law then they will, and did, block it by refusal to pay even though we had and are still having seemingly unsuccessfull a campaign by the Pensions Action Group (PAG). The truth is that governments do not like to support us elderly (as shown recently by stopping 75 free TV Licensing) and see us as a non resistant tax soft spot. The DWP view pensions as a ‘benefit’ to be’ given’ or ‘taken away’ at their will! So ‘Pensions Promise’ is not seen as ‘a right’ although contractually paid for whilst working. This NRD payment problem was supposed to have been solved by the Financial Assistane Scheme (FAS) late starting in 2004 and again later by the PPF. Unfortunately crafty Mr. Brown included flawed rules that degrade our pension payments and we have been experiencing ‘pension poverty’ now for some 20 years.
    This being the present view and decision making by any of our sitting government does not promote any confidence or better result for new organisation such as NPAG, and if it did it would not be equiable if it did not include all those other organisations and claiments with failing ‘Pension Promise.

    Peter D Beattie – FAS/PPF Pensioner/Equitable Life Claiment Military Veteran

  3. £12,500 x 5% (member’s share of a typical auto enrollment contribution) = £625
    25% of £625 = £156.25

    At source = 0.8 x £625 deducted from pay by employer = £500 paid to provider, provider claims basic rate tax of £125 (regardless of whether individual is a tax payer) which is added to their pot.

    So in essence the victims are being robbed of £125 a year for tax relief on tax never paid in the first place. Shocking.

    Having said that – every little helps, and £10m is worth paying I guess if that’s all it costs to ‘correct’ this anomaly.

    However, the Government might want to target the money more effectively e.g. desperately poor folks or the homeless rough sleepers perhaps, since non-tax payers are not all poor. They may have rich partners or valuable assets.

  4. steve Rogers says:

    Wonderful post! We are linking to this great article on our site. Keep up the great writing.
    HR System in Saudi Arabia
    Payroll System in Saudi Arabia

Leave a Reply