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Foreign and unregistered pensions: tax complexities and anomalies

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The UK taxation of pension benefits paid by overseas pension schemes is a complex subject, and the rules changed significantly following reforms in 2017. Lump sum payments from foreign pension schemes to UK residents can now be subject to UK tax in full without any exemption or reduction for foreign service. However, in certain circumstances, the previous treatment for lump sum payments continues to apply for funds built up before 6 April 2017, and there are complex ‘grandfathering’ provisions to consider. Despite the rules being enacted two years ago, there is still a lack of clarity on some aspects of their operation, and further HMRC guidance is needed.
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