On 27 November HMRC published guidance (accessible here) on transfers to qualifying recognised overseas pension schemes ("QROPS"). For transfers before 24 September 2008 to a scheme on the QROPS list, HMRC will not normally raise or pursue a tax assessment of the transfer, even if it was later determined that the scheme was not a QROPS. This easement is due to the change in information made available by HMRC on and after 24 September 2008. The QROPS list was updated from that date to provide warnings that a pension scheme listed may not be a QROPS. However, HMRC reserves the right to pursue such transfers where there is evidence of dishonesty or abuse and, in the circumstances it would not appear to be unfair to impose a tax charge.
The guidance provides that for transfers after 24 September 2008 date HMRC will consider whether to exercise its powers after reviewing the individual facts of each case and considering whether it would be fair to impose a tax charge in the circumstances.