Find out who can use the Pension Schemes Online service, how to sign up, information you’ll need and where to go for help.
Who can use Pension Schemes Online
You can use Pension Schemes Online if you’re either a:
- scheme administrator
- practitioner appointed by a scheme administrator
Some functions like registering a pension scheme or changing the scheme administrator can’t be carried out by a practitioner.
If you’re the scheme administrator you’re responsible for making sure that the tax rules are followed and that any tax due is paid. You can appoint a practitioner to look after the day to day running of the scheme but they must already be set up on the online service for you to do this. The scheme administrator must agree the content of any reports sent by the practitioner to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
For detailed step-by-step instructions on everything you can do on Pension Schemes Online see the Guide to Using the Online Service for Scheme Administrators and Practitioners.
New Pensions Online Digital Service
We’re introducing a new Pensions Online Digital Service and we’d like your help to test it.
If you’d like to take part in our user research and provide feedback on a prototype of the new service, you can email HM Revenue and Customs at firstname.lastname@example.org and put ‘user research’ in the subject line of your email.
More information about the new Pensions Online Digital Service can be found in our pension schemes newsletters.
What you can do using Pension Schemes Online
As the scheme administrator you must use Pension Schemes Online to:
- register a pension scheme
- change the scheme administrator for a pension scheme - notifying that you’re no longer the scheme administrator or making the administrator’s declaration and telling HMRC you’re a new scheme administrator
- submit an Event Report
- submit a Registered Pension Scheme Return
- submit an Accounting for Tax (AFT) Return - including making an amendment to a previously submitted AFT Return
You can also use Pension Schemes Online to:
- amend the details of a previously submitted Event Report or Registered Pension Scheme Return
- tell HMRC about some changes to the details of the scheme, the scheme administrator or a practitioner
What you can’t do using Pension Schemes Online
There are some things you can’t use Pension Schemes Online for, these include:
- relief at source repayment claims
- submitting form SA970 – Tax Return for Trustees of Registered Pension Schemes
- reclaiming tax paid on investment income
- amending the scheme administrator name - more guidance on making an amendment to the scheme administrator name is in chapter 8 of ‘A Guide to Using the Online Service for Scheme Administrators and Practitioners’
Signing up for Pension Schemes Online
Getting online is a 2-step process:
Step 1 - Pre-register to set up your details
When you pre-register you’re given:
- an activation token - this is shown on screen in the format PPXXXXXXXXX so you need to make a note of it
- a scheme administrator or practitioner ID - this will be sent by post and can take up to 7 days
You’ll need both of these to register and activate the online service.
If you have the same role for more than one scheme you can use the same ID.
If a scheme has more than one administrator each person must pre-register separately.
Step 2 - Register and activate the online service
When you get your scheme administrator or practitioner ID you register and activate the online service and set up a user ID and password.
You’ll need these every time you use the Pension Schemes Online service.
More guidance on signing up to use Pension Schemes Online as a scheme administrator or practitioner is in chapters 2 and 3 of the Guide to Using the Online service for Scheme Administrators and Practitioners.
Once you’re signed up you need to attach yourself to a pension scheme record.
If the scheme hasn’t been registered you’ll need to submit an application for registration.
Finding the Pension Scheme Tax Reference for a scheme approved before 6 April 2006
Pension Schemes Online has a record of most schemes approved before 6 April 2006. These will have been given a Pension Scheme Tax Reference (PSTR). If you don’t know the PSTR you can use the old SF reference to find the scheme record. This is a numerical reference with a letter at the end like this:
If you want to add yourself to the scheme record you’ll need the whole reference number to add yourself correctly. Contact the Pension Schemes Services Helpline if you want to check that you’ve got the right reference number.
You can find more on this in chapter 4 of the Guide to Using the Online Service for Scheme Administrators and Practitioners.
Adding a scheme administrator to a registered pension scheme
You can’t add yourself as scheme administrator if there is already one recorded on the system for that scheme. The existing administrator must associate you to the scheme before you can add yourself.
You can find more on this in chapter 6 of the Guide to Using the Online Service for Scheme Administrators and Practitioners.
Adding a practitioner to a pension scheme
Only the scheme administrator can authorise a practitioner to act for the scheme. The practitioner must already be registered to use the online service as the scheme administrator will need the Practitioner ID to authorise them. When they’ve done this the practitioner can view the scheme’s online details and discuss them with HMRC.
You can find more on this in chapter 7 of the Guide to Using the Online Service for Scheme Administrators and Practitioners.
If you’ve lost your User ID or password
If you can’t find your ID or your password you can get a replacement. Go to the Online Services login page then follow the ‘lost User ID’ or ‘lost password’ links.
For security purposes you’ll need to answer a number of questions before a replacement User ID or password is issued. Your ID or password will be sent to you by email (if you’ve given an email address) or by first class post.
If you’ve lost both your User ID and password please call the Online Services Helpdesk.
Pension Schemes Online service issues
You can find information about service availability and any technical issues on the Pension Schemes: service availability and issues page.
Online Services Helpdesk
If you have technical problems using or accessing the Pension Schemes Online Service contact the Online Services Helpdesk.
Published: 16 September 2014
Updated: 10 November 2017
- Information about how to take part in our user research for the new Pensions Online Digital Service has been added to this page.
- First published.