Abolition of the Lifetime Allowance

From 6 April 2024 the Lifetime Allowance was replaced with new allowances. The information on this website is based on our understanding of the Finance Act 2024 and other documents, like HMRC newsletters.

What changed?

From 6 April 2024 LTA was replaced with 3 separate allowances:

Name Allowance Description
Lump Sum Allowance (LSA) £268,275* A limit on the tax-free payments that can be made from all of an individuals’ pension arrangements as Pension Commencement Lump Sum (PCLS) and/or as the tax-free part of Uncrystallised Funds Pension Lump Sums (UFPLS).
Lump Sum and Death Benefit Allowance (LSDBA) £1,073,100* A limit on the total payments that can be paid tax-free from all of an individuals’ pension arrangements.
Overseas Transfer Allowance (OTA) £1,073,100 A transfer to a Qualifying Registered Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) will be subject to an Overseas Transfer Charge of 25% on the full value of the transfer. Under certain circumstances this charge will not be applied and the transfer will qualify for the Overseas Transfer Allowance (OTA) which, for the tax year 2024/25, is set at £1,073,100. Where the cumulative value of transfers to QROPS exceeds this allowance the 25% Overseas Transfer Charge will apply to the value of the transfer in excess of this allowance. Any amount that exceeds this allowance will incur a flat rate tax charge of 25%.

*This is the standard allowance. Allowances may be different if clients hold lifetime allowance protection.

Certain clients may wish to delay certain transfers or taking benefits

HMRC’ recent Newsletter 158 advised that certain clients and advisors should may wish to delay some pension actions until regulations to correct the legislation are laid before Parliament. Although there is no date set for when these changes will be made, they are expected to become law shortly. Clients impacted by legislative changes are as follows:

  1. Enhanced protection transfers
  2. Enhanced protection and primary protection cases with protected lump sum rights of £375,000 or more
  3. Lump sum death benefit payment from funds which crystallised before 06 April 2024
  4. All transfers from drawdown to a QROPS, including those which include pre-April 2006 benefits in payment
  5. Scheme specific tax-free cash protection.

Further details are here.

More information

  • From 6 April 2024 your clients tax-free benefits will be tested against the new allowances. Any Lifetime Allowance (LTA) used in previous tax years will be converted to Lump Sum Allowance and Lump Sum and Death Benefit Allowance.
  • There may be complexity for clients who have took benefits before 5 April 2006; those who took benefits when the Lifetime Allowance was different to £1,073,100 or those who have protected benefits.

From 6 April 2024 Lump Sums and Lump Sum Death Benefits, as well as transfers to overseas pension schemes paid out of UK pension schemes will be tested against the new allowances.

Lump Sum Allowance (LSA) applies to Pension Commencement Lump Sums (PCLS) and the tax-free element of Uncrystallised Fund Pension Lump Sums (UFPLS). The allowance is £268,275; any excess lump sum payments will be taxed at the marginal rate of income tax.

A higher allowance may be available if the client had pension protection before 6 April 2024.

Pension Commencement Lump Sums

Lump Sum & Death Benefit Allowance (LSDBA) applies to lump sums payable on death. The allowance is £1,073,100; any excess lump sum payments will be taxed at the recipient’s marginal rate of income tax. The following will be deducted from the LSDBA:

  • Pension commencement lump sums and the tax-free elements of any uncrystallised funds pension lump sum.
  • Uncrystallised funds lump sum death benefits.
  • Drawdown pension fund lump sum death benefits and flexi-access drawdown lump sum death benefits from benefits crystallised on or after 6 April 2024.
  • Serious ill-health lump sums.
  • Defined benefit lump sum death benefits.
  • Pension protection lump sum death benefits.
  • Annuity protection lump sum death benefits.
  • Lump sum death benefits paid after age 75 are not tax-free.

RBCEs have replaced Benefit Crystallisation Events (BCEs). RBCEs will cover the payment of relevant lump sums and relevant lump sum death benefits.

Clients who have already taken benefits from their pension before April 2024 will have their allowances reduced accordingly.

A standard transitional calculation will be used when converting any LTA used between 6 April 2006 and 5 April 2024 into LSA and LSDBA.

In some limited circumstances clients may be able to increase the value of their available allowance by applying for a Transitional Tax-Free Amount Certificate (TTFAC). Some of the circumstances where a transitional tax-free amount certificate will help the individual are:

  • If any benefits were crystallised when the lifetime allowance was below £1,073,100.
  • Transfer to a qualifying recognised overseas pension.
  • A serious ill-health lump sum was paid
  • If less than 25% tax-free cash was paid because:
    1. GMP restricted the tax-free cash
    2. The crystallised benefits included a disqualifying pension credit
    3. It was a defined benefit scheme, and the tax-free cash taken was not 25% of the benefits value.

It’s expected that this certificate will be required by only a small number of clients. If clients apply for a TTFAC then they are restricted going forwards to the allowances quoted in the certificate.

A TTFAC is a certificate for an individual that shows the amount of the individual’s lump sum transitional tax-free amount, and the amount of the individual’s lump sum and death benefit transitional tax-free amount. It must be applied for by the client. It must be applied for before the first relevant benefit crystallisation event takes place after 6 April 2024. It may be beneficial in some circumstances (see question above).

  • When conducting annual reviews or carrying out crystallisation events advisers should review remaining available allowances with their clients. Where appropriate they may want to instruct the client to apply for a Transitional Tax-Free Amount Certificate.
  • TTFAC applications can only be made from 6 April onwards. To apply we must have an email from the client (this can be forwarded by the adviser) and copies of Lifetime Allowance Certificates from previous crystallisation events as well as evidence of tax-free amount paid e.g. bank statements. In addition we will require copies of Protection Certificates.
  • Where clients have LTA protection, it will continue to apply to the new allowances.
  • There are many existing protections that will apply to the LSA and LSDBA. Protection is a complex topic and our Financial Planning experts will look at it in detail in a forthcoming edition of TechTalk.

Individuals with protection applied for before 6 April 2024 can retain that protection and have access to higher lump sum allowances. See the below table.

Type of protection Lump sum allowance Lump sum and death benefit allowance
Enhanced protection If tax-free cash entitlement of more than £375,000 and more than 25% of the fund on 6 April 2006 could retain tax free cash entitlement. Maximum tax-free cash shown on protection certificate. Since 6 April 2023, tax-free cash is still based on this percentage, however, it’s applied to total benefit value on 5 April 2023. Scheme specific protection may apply.If tax-free cash entitlement of more than 25% but less than £375,000 on 6 April 2006, they couldn’t protect tax-free cash using enhanced protection. Where there is no protected tax-free cash the lump sum allowance is £375,000. The amount of uncrystallised funds on 5 April 2024.
Primary protection If pre-6 April 2006 tax-free cash was less than £375,000, the amount payable is the lesser of 25% of the benefit value and 25% of £1.5m. If tax-free cash exceeded 25% of the LTA on 5 April 2006 it is protected as a monetary amount. Since 6 April 2012 the amount payable is 25% of the value on 5 April 2006 increased by 20%.Maximimum tax-free cash entitlement is shown as a monetary amount on the protection certificate. £1,800,000 x the individual’s primary protection factor.
Fixed protection 2012 £450,000 £1,800,000
Fixed protection 2014 £375,000 £1,500,000
Fixed protection 2016 £312,500 £1,250,000
Individual protection 2014 25% of protected amount the lower of £1.5 million or the value of benefits on 5 April 2014
Individual protection 2016 25% of protected amount the lower of £1.25 million or the value of benefits on 5 April 2016

*This is the standard allowance. Allowances may be different if clients hold lifetime allowance protection.

We are reviewing our literature to ensure that they align with new terms. The entire Embark Pensions Literature Library has been updated and will be available from 6 April 2024.

Scenarios where clients may wish to delay certain transfers or taking benefits

  1. Enhanced Protection – transferring out
    Pension scheme Newsletter 157 confirmed that HMRC will amend legislation to enable members with Enhance Protection to retain their tax protection on a transfer. This will likely require an exchange of information between transferring and receiving schemes in order to determine the member’s permitted maximum under the new arrangement. Until the amending legislation is effective, HMRC suggests that clients may wish to consider delaying this their transfer until the legislation has been amended.
  2. Primary or Enhanced Protection with protected lump sum rights in excess of £375,000
    HMRC has stated that current legislation will prevent clients with EP Enhanced Protection or PP Primary Protection who have protected lump sum rights to take a PCLS value in excess of their usual protected LSA of £375,000. This is unintentional, and the updated regulations are expected to address this issue. HMRC suggests that until the amending legislation is effective, members may either:
    • take a PCLS up to £375,000 — in this case the member would forgo their protected entitlement as any amount subsequently paid would not meet the conditions to be a PCLS
    • delay to the payment of their PCLS in order that they can take their full entitlement — a PCLS can be paid 6 months before and up to 12 months after the member becomes entitled to it
  3. Lump Sum death benefits (LSDBs)
    Payments of a LSDB from funds which crystallised prior to 6 April 2024 may be limited by the permitted maximum, which was unintentional. HMRC’s intention was for these payments to be entirely tax-free, and they will bring forward legislation to correct this error. HMRC suggests that legal representatives of deceased members with funds that were crystallised before 5 April 20204 may wish to delay requesting payment of LSDBs until the amending legislation is in place.
  4. Transfers out to a QROPS
    Currently, 100% of the LTA amount used prior to the 06 April 2024 will be offset against the Overseas Transfer Allowance, which is the maximum amount that can be transferred to a QROPS tax-free. The Overseas Transfer Charge will apply to any excess.
    There are issues with clients with only pre-A-Day (6th April 2006) pensions in payment that wish to transfer to a QROPS. HMRC suggest that clients in this situation should consider delaying the transfer, where this is possible.
  5. Scheme-specific lump sum protection
    Clients with scheme-specific lump sum protection which entitles them to tax-free cash greater than 25% are currently negatively impacted. The updated legislation will correct the error, and clients can still transfer their benefits between providers, however HMRC suggest that clients with scheme-specific lump sum protection may wish to consider delaying any request for a PCLS payment until the corrective legislation is in place.