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The Chancellor appears to be a big fan of the first law of stage magic – get the audience looking the wrong way. After all the sound and fury about switching the basis of pensions taxation, abolishing the 25% tax-free lump sum, setting a fixed rate for tax relief and abolishing the tax benefits of salary sacrifice, the key pension changes in Budget 2016 are:
However, the Chancellor's hard work on reforming pension contribution taxation has not been entirely wasted. He has announced a shiny new Trojan horse that will compete for younger savers' savings pots and which has several bells and whistles that boring old registered pension schemes do not have.
Introducing LISA (from April 2017).
LISA is what pensions could have looked like had the Chancellor's reform not been stymied by the complications created by trying to graft a tax, exempt, exempt pensions system onto an existing and complicated exempt, exempt, taxed system.
When we say that LISA is what pensions could have looked like if the Government had switched to a TEE system, that statement is not without some caveats. The key question looking forward is how many of these caveats will apply in five years time as the flexibility and easy to understand "bonus" that applies to LISA potentially outcompetes normal UK pension savings:
We assume that the required legislation is currently being prepared so that the product is available for launch in April next year.
This should provide more flesh over the bare bones announced in the Budget. We will comment further once it has been released for consultation.
After all, it could be the future of UK pensions savings!
Any questions? Contact us.
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