Guidance

Send pension scheme reports

Pension scheme returns, Accounting for Tax returns and event reports you must complete and send to HMRC if you're a scheme administrator.

Who submits the returns and event reports

The scheme administrator is responsible for submitting the:

  • pension scheme returns
  • Accounting for Tax (AFT) returns
  • event reports

You can delegate these tasks but you remain responsible for making sure they’re accurate and complete.

Pension scheme returns

If HMRC needs more information about a registered pension scheme they may send you a notice telling you to complete a pension scheme return. If your pension scheme has a Pension Scheme Tax Reference (PSTR) beginning with ‘0’ you must file your pension scheme return using The Pension Scheme Online Service.

If your pension scheme has a PSTR beginning with ‘2’, we’ll tell you how to file your pension scheme return when we issue your Notice to file

There are 2 versions of the pension scheme return, one for occupational schemes and the other for non-occupational schemes.

This pension scheme return should not be confused with either the scheme return that needs to be sent to The Pensions Regulator or form SA970 Tax Return for Trustees of Registered Pension Schemes.

Deadline for submitting the pension scheme return

The notice to file letter sent by HMRC will state the date the pension scheme return must be submitted by. If the pension scheme return is not received by the deadline you’ll be charged a £100 penalty. Daily penalties of £60 may also be charged if the return is still not submitted.

How to amend a submitted pension scheme return

If you made a mistake on the original pension scheme return you should send an amended one as soon as you can. You can submit amendments using the Pension Schemes Online Service. You can start submitting an amendment 24 hours after you made the original submission online.

AFT returns

As scheme administrator you’re subject to tax charges when a registered pension scheme makes certain payments. The following tax charges must be reported and paid to HMRC using the AFT return:

Payment When the charge applies
Short service refund lump sum charge Payable when the scheme refunds contributions to a member who was a member for less than 2 years.
Lifetime allowance charge This tax is due when the scheme pays a pension to a member and they have used up their lifetime allowance.
Special lump sum death benefit charge A 45% tax due if the scheme pays certain lump sums following the death of a member.
Serious ill-health lump sum charge From 16 September 2016 the serious ill-health lump sum payment is treated as taxable income and will form part of the Real Time Information (RTI) reporting that pension scheme administrators have to do.

You should not include any serious ill-health lump sum payments made on or after 16 September 2016 to a scheme member aged 75 or over on the AFT return.
Authorised surplus payments charge A 35% tax that is due if the scheme pays surplus scheme funds to an employer.
De-registration charge A tax charge of 40% of the pension scheme value if HMRC removes the tax registration of the pension scheme.
Annual allowance charge Where the member has given the scheme administrator a notice requiring them to pay the tax for the member.
Overseas transfer charge A tax charge of 25% on taxable overseas transfers made from 9 March 2017.

If the scheme makes any taxable overseas transfers between 9 March 2017 and 30 June 2017, these should be reported and paid on the AFT for the quarter beginning 1 July 2017.

From 1 July you should report taxable overseas transfers for the quarter they were made.

Detailed guidance on the AFT return can be found in the Pensions Tax Manual.

Submitting your AFT return through the Managing Pension Schemes service

If you need to file an AFT return for a scheme with a PSTR beginning with ‘2’, registered on the Managing Pension Schemes service, you must file the AFT return on this service.

You can:

  • save your AFT return and return to it later
  • submit your AFT once the quarter for that return has ended
  • view AFT returns submitted through the service
  • search both compiled and submitted AFT returns for a scheme member
  • amend an AFT return

If you need to file an AFT return for any quarter earlier than 1 April 2020 you should email pensions.administration@hmrc.gov.uk and put ‘AFT – Managing Pension Schemes’ in the subject line of your email.

Submitting your AFT return through the Pension Schemes Online service

If your pension scheme has a PSTR beginning with ‘0’ you must file the AFT return using the Pension Schemes Online Service.

Deadlines for AFT returns and tax charge payments

Period when tax arises Filing date deadline
1 January to 31 March 15 May
1 April to 30 June 14 August
1 July to 30 September 14 November
1 October to 31 December 14 February

If the AFT return or tax charge payments are not received by the due date you will be charged penalties.

How to amend a submitted AFT return

You should amend an AFT return as soon as you can, using the service that you submitted the return on.

Event reports

There are some events that occur in a registered pension scheme that must be reported to HMRC using the Event Report.

If you need to submit an Event Report for a scheme with a PSTR beginning with ‘2’, email pensions.businessdelivery@hmrc.gov.uk and put ‘Event Report – Managing Pension Schemes’ in the subject line of your email.

If your pension scheme has a PSTR beginning with ‘0’ you must submit your Event Report using the Pension Schemes Online Service.

Reportable events for 2011 to 2012 onwards

Event report number Details of events to be reported
1 The scheme made or is treated as having made an unauthorised payment.
2 Payments of lump sum death benefit(s) of more than 50% of the lifetime allowance.
3 Payment of benefits to a member under age 55 who is a scheme employer, director of a scheme employer (or associated company) or connected to such a person.
4 Payment of a serious ill-health lump sum to a member who is a scheme employer, director of a scheme employer (or associated company) or connected to such a person.
5 The scheme stops paying out an ill-health pension.
6 A member’s benefits are tested against the lifetime allowance (a benefit crystallisation event) and:

- they have an enhanced lifetime allowance, enhanced protection, fixed protection, fixed protection 2014 or individual protection 2014

- their total benefits are more than the lifetime allowance

The Event Report does not currently include fixed protection 2016 (FP2016) and individual protection 2016 (IP2016), so you’ll not be able to use the 2016 to 2017 or 2017 to 2018 event reports to report reference numbers of your members relying on FP2016 or IP2016 from 6 April 2016.

If your members have relied on fixed protection 2016 or individual protection 2016 (and you need to tell HMRC before the Event Report is updated) contact HMRC to find out how to send the information.

Different rates and allowances that apply to pension schemes.
7 Payment of a pension commencement lump sum which is both:

- more than 25% of the member’s pension pot

- between 7.5% and 25% of the lifetime allowance
8 Payment of a pension commencement lump sum to a member with primary or enhanced protection, and the lump sum is more than the maximum lump sum payable to a member without lump sum protection.
8A Payment of a stand-alone lump sum (100% lump sum) and the member had either:

- protected lump sum rights of more than £375,000 with either primary protection or enhanced protection

- scheme specific lump sum protection and the lump sum is more than 7.5% of the lifetime allowance
9 A transfer to a qualifying recognised overseas pension scheme (QROPS) where the transfer was requested before 6 April 2012. For transfers after this date see the section Report transfers to QROPS.
10 The scheme becomes or stops being an investment regulated pension scheme.
11 The scheme changes its rules to either:

- require the scheme to make an unauthorised payment

- allow the scheme to have investments other than insurance policies
12 A scheme treated as 2 schemes by HMRC before 6 April 2006 changes any of its rules.
13 The scheme’s structure changes.
14 The number of members at the end of the tax year has changed band compared to the band at the end of the previous tax year. The bands are:

- 0 members

- 1 member

- 2 to 11 members

- 12 to 50 members

- 51 to 10,000 members

- more than 10,000 members
18 The scheme administrator is subject to a scheme sanction charge because of investment in taxable property.
19 The scheme changes its country of establishment.
20 The scheme becomes or stops being an occupational pension scheme.
20A The scheme becomes or stops being a Master Trust. This must be reported within 30 days of this event. The online service cannot be used to report this. Use form APSS578 instead.
You must tell The Pensions Regulator if your scheme becomes a Master Trust.
You may also need to tell The Pensions Regulator if your scheme ceases to be a Master Trust. You can find more information on reporting events on The Pensions Regulator website.
21 Either a member or dependant moves into flexible drawdown - tax years 2012 to 2013, 2013 to 2014 and 2014 to 2015 only.
22 The scheme administrator has automatically issued a ‘standard’ pension savings statement
23 The scheme administrator has automatically issued a ‘money purchase’ pension savings statement

You must also use The Event Report to tell HMRC that a pension scheme has been wound up.

You can find detailed technical guidance on the Event Report in the Pensions Tax Manual.

Deadlines for submitting event reports

The deadline date for submitting an Event Report is 31 January following the end of the tax year.

If a scheme has been wound up you must submit the Event Report within 3 months of the date the scheme wound up.

If the Event Report is not received by the deadline you may be charged a penalty of up to £300. Daily penalties of up to £60 may also be charged if you still do not submit the report.

How to amend submitted event reports

If you made a mistake on the original Event Report you should send an amended Event Report as soon as you can.

If you submitted your Event Report using the Pension Schemes Online Service, you can start submitting amendments 24 hours after you made the original submission.

If your scheme PSTR begins with ‘2’ and you want to submit an amendment to an Event Report, email pensions.businessdelivery@hmrc.gov.uk and put ‘Event Report – Managing Pension Schemes’ in the subject line of your email.

Detailed technical guidance on the Event Report submission process can be found in the Pensions Tax Manual.

Report transfers to QROPS

The UK scheme administrator must tell HMRC about transfers to QROPS using form APSS 262 within 60 days of the transfer. You must also report whether the transfer was or was not a taxable overseas transfer.

If the transfer is taxable you’ll also need to report the information on your AFT return and pay the tax due.

Pension flexibility payments and pension flexibility death benefits payments

As scheme administrator you must report pension flexibility payments and pension flexibility death benefits payments to HMRC through RTI.

You can find more information about this in chapter 2 of the CWG2 guide.

Relief at source annual return of information

Registered pension schemes operating relief at source, must submit an annual information return giving details of all net contributions paid in the previous tax year.

Read more about relief at source annual return of information.

Published 16 September 2014
Last updated 1 April 2020 + show all updates
  1. Submitting your AFT return through the Managing Pension Schemes service and Submitting your AFT return through the Pension Schemes Online service sections have been added.

  2. The 'pensions scheme returns' section has been updated with more information on how to file your pension scheme return.

  3. Changes made to the sections on Accounting for Tax Returns, Deadlines for Accounting for Tax Returns and Event Reports to include guidance on the additional features being introduced to the Managing Pension Schemes service.

  4. The section reportable events for 2011 to 2012 onwards has been updated.

  5. Information about Event Reports 22 and 23 has been updated.

  6. Links to paper forms APSS301, 313, 300A, 300B have been removed as these are no longer available. These events can be reported using the online service.

  7. Accounting for Tax (AFT) Returns has been updated to show the latest information about the serious ill-health lump sum charge. Reportable events for 2011 to 2012 onwards have been updated to show the deadlines for submission.

  8. Overseas transfer charges added to the table and reporting QROPS transfers section amended.

  9. The rates for serious ill-health lump sum charge have been updated.

  10. This guidance has been updated to reflect legislation changes effective from 6 April 2016 for pension flexibility payments and pension flexibility death benefits payments and when you should submit Event Reports.

  11. Special lump sum death benefit and serious ill-health lump sum charges reduced to 45% (from 55%) effective 6 April 2015. Number of members per-band for Event Report 11 has changed. Event Report 21 is not applicable from 6 April 2015. Event Report 22 only applies in certain circumstances from 6 April 2015, see table for details. Event Report 23 added for when the scheme administrator has to issue a money purchase pensions savings statement.

  12. First published.