Another nail in the coffin for pension liberation scams
HM Revenue and Customs has, I’m delighted to report, taken the battle against pension liberation scams up a gear.
The UK’s tax authority has confirmed that it has now abandoned its so-called ‘process now, check later’ system, a process which has, according to many experts, enabled the scammers to more easily carry out their shameful, bogus practices.
The measure introduced today means that immediate registration will become a thing of the past, as officials will now analyse each application to see if it could bepart of a pension liberation racket.
In its statement, the Revenue affirms: “This will enable HMRC to conduct detailed risk assessment activity before making a decision on whether or not to register a scheme.”
In my opinion this is another landmark step. It’s great to see HMRC once again tackling this serious issue with such vigour – an issue over which I, and the deVereGroup, have publicly and repeatedly raised the alarm.
Why do we feel so passionate about this issue? It’s simple – we believe that these pension-busting schemes risk impoverishing people in retirement.
As reports have shown, the charges on unauthorised payments can all too often rise to a staggering 70 per cent and, of course, this means that the pension holder will be in for a nasty shock – of having potentially almost nothing left in his or her pension pot – when they come to retire.
It’s a sad fact that these schemes have been actively promoted to those who, usually through no fault of their own, have not completely grasped that they could be putting a considerable amount of their retirement funds on the line.
This positive action announced by HMRC today comes just a few months after The Pensions Regulator (TPR) argued in the High Court that some of the pension liberation schemes discovered as the result of the police-led Operation Neame were fraudulent and, therefore, illegal.
At the time, I commented: “Hopefully, the High Court case will act as a definitive deterrent to the fraudsters – because up until now, often, when HMRC deregistered a suspected illegitimate scheme, many of those responsible would simply set up new schemes. It has been like the serpent Hydra in Greek mythology: for each head that is cut off, two more grow.”
Qrops written correctly for Expats have many advantages. These rules must not be abused.
Nigel Green deVere Group