Approved Retirement Funds (ARFs) allow people to keep part or all of their retirement fund invested post retirement age. Income can be drawn from an ARF as and when the ARF holder requests, subject to an imputed minimum withdrawal of 5% of the value of the fund each year for tax purposes. Previously, an individual under the age of 75 could only invest in an ARF where he had a guaranteed annual income of €18,000 or placed €119,800 in an Approved Minimum Retirement Fund (AMRF).
The Finance Act 2013 temporarily relaxed the qualifying conditions which must be satisfied in order for an individual to avail of the option to invest his/her retirement benefits in an ARF. The legislation provides that an individual may invest in an ARF if he/she:
- Has a guaranteed annual income of at least €12,700, or
- Places €63,500 in an AMRF or purchases an annuity which provides an annual income of €12,700.
These thresholds replace the higher thresholds which had been in force since the Finance Act 2011 and are expected to remain in place until the Finance Act 2016.
The change is retrospective in effect and includes provisions to ensure that anyone affected by the higher ARF/AMRF limits since the passing of the Finance Act 2011 will not be disadvantaged. With the cost of purchasing an annuity remaining at a near all time high, it is likely that more funds will convert to an ARF status at least in the short to medium term.