The government has published two new sets of regulations relating to pensions:
- The Employer-Financed Retirement Benefits (Excluded Benefits for Tax Purposes) Regulations 2007
These regulations apply to benefits provided under an employer-financed retirement benefit scheme (EFRBS). An EFRBS is defined as a scheme for the provision of benefits consisting of or including relevant benefits by an employer to or in respect of its employees or former employees. Benefits provided under an EFRBS are "relevant benefits" unless they are "excluded benefits". The regulations list the non-cash benefits that are to be excluded benefits and so are not subject to a charge to income tax.
These exclusions relate broadly to continued provision for pensioners of accommodation and related expenses, welfare counselling, recreational benefits, annual parties and similar functions, and equipment for disabled former employees. Exclusions also relate to advice on the writing of wills.
The regulations came into force on 8 January 2008 and the exclusions have been back-dated to apply with effect from 6 April 2006.
- The Financial Assistance Scheme (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2007
The regulations extend eligibility to assistance from the Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS). The current tapered assistance levels will be removed, so that 80 per cent core assistance (subject to the cap) is available to all eligible qualifying members at age 65, irrespective of how far away they were from their scheme pension age on 14 May 2004. The regulations also increase the cap on maximum assistance from £12,000 to £26,000 p.a. and remove the de minimis rule which excluded those whose FAS payment were less than £10 per week. Complementary changes are made to survivors' benefits.
The regulations came into force on 19 December 2007.
View the Employer-Financed Retirement Benefits (Excluded Benefits for Tax Purposes) Regulations 2007 (61KB) (.pdf)