How to help staff save £1000s by better understanding the tax impact of pensions withdrawals

Wealth at work recently conducted a poll which revealed that 91 per cent of employers believe that employees do not understand the tax rules when withdrawing money from their pension.

Full tax jar empty saving jar

Jonathan Watts-Lay, Director, Wealth at work, comments; 

“Unfortunately, these findings could mean that many employees will pay more tax than they need to at-retirement, ultimately resulting in less income in retirement than what could have otherwise been achieved.”

He adds; “The Office for Budget Responsibility reported in October that the Treasury will net an extra £400m in revenues raised from the pension freedoms in the 2018/19 tax year, which is 50 per cent more than forecast - indicating that individuals are in fact, paying tax when it could have been avoided.”

Watts-Lay explains; “It’s clear that employees and members need to understand the tax implications around accessing their retirement savings. For example, do they know that typically only the first 25 per cent of a defined contribution pension is tax free and that the remaining 75 per cent is taxed as earned income? 

Additionally, many don’t realise that they could potentially reduce or even eliminate tax charges on their retirement income by utilising the tax allowances and reliefs available. For example, it may be beneficial to draw money from taxable savings first rather than from the tax efficient wrapper of a pension. I cannot stress enough the importance of careful tax planning!”

He comments; “I believe that all employees and members should receive support before they take any income from their pensions or indeed any other sources of retirement income – whether that is financial education or guidance, or even regulated advice for more complex decisions.

It’s now becoming widely recognised that there are specialist providers available to deliver these services to help employees and members to make informed decisions at-retirement. However, there is still a long way to go to ensure that all individuals are receiving the support that they deserve.”

This article is provided by Wealth at Work. 

1. Statistics quoted are from a poll carried out on the ‘WEALTH at work’ website from December 2018 until February 2019. The poll asked ‘Do you believe that employees understand the tax rules when withdrawing money from their pension?’ and received 70 responses. 


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