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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

From
HM Revenue & Customs
Updated
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Information & Inspection Powers: Information Notices: Third party notices: Notice relating to a pensions matter

Some of the rules for a third party notice in CH23620 are different where the notice is for the purpose of checking the tax position of a person and the notice refers only to information or documents that relate to any pensions matter.

A ‘pensions matter’ means any matter relating to

  • a registered pension scheme,
  • an annuity purchased with sums or assets held for the purpose of a registered pension scheme
  • an employer-financed retirement benefits scheme, or
  • a qualifying recognised overseas pension scheme (QROPS) or a former QROPS.

The differences for a third party notice relating to a pensions matter are:

  • You do not need the approval of the person or the tribunal.
  • You do not need to give a copy of the notice to the person whose tax position is being checked.
  • The third party can appeal against the notice on any grounds, except the requirement to produce its statutory records.

An additional difference for a third party notice in relation to QROPS, or former QROPS, is that ‘old documents’, see CH22140, is extended from 6 years to 10 years.

Unless you give the notice to a person who, in relation to the scheme or annuity to which the notice relates, is a ‘prescribed description of person’ (see definition below), you must

  • give a copy of the notice to the scheme administrator, if the pensions matter relates to a registered pension scheme or annuity purchased with sums or assets held for the purpose of a registered pension scheme
  • give a copy of the notice to the responsible person (see definition below) in relation to the employer-financed retirement benefits scheme, if the pensions matter relates to an employer-financed retirement benefits scheme
  • give a copy of the notice to the scheme manager (as defined in section 169(3) of FA 2004), if the pensions matter relates to QROPS or former QROPS.

A ‘responsible person’ in relation to an employer-financed retirement benefits scheme is the first person identified by using the following tests in this order:

If there are one or more trustees of the scheme who are resident in the UK, that trustee or each of those trustees.

If there are one or more persons who control the management of the scheme, that person or each of those persons.

If alive or still in existence, the employer, or any of the employers, who established the scheme and any person by whom that employer, or any of those employers, has been directly or indirectly succeeded in relation to the provision of benefits under the scheme.

Any employer of employees to or in respect of whom benefits are, or are to be provided under the scheme.

If there are one or more trustees of the scheme who are not resident in the UK, that trustee or each of those trustees.

A ‘prescribed description of person’ is

  • for a registered pension scheme, any person who is, or at any time during the relevant period has been

    • the scheme administrator
    • a trustee of the scheme
    • a sponsoring employer in relation to the scheme, or
    • a member of the scheme.
  • for an annuity purchased with sums or assets held for the purposes of a registered pension scheme

    • the insurance company or other person from whom the annuity has been purchased.
  • for an employer-financed retirement benefits scheme

    • in relation to the coming into operation of the scheme, the responsible person at the time the scheme comes into operation
    • in relation to the provision of benefits, the responsible person at the time the notice is issued.

If you decide to seek tribunal approval for this type of notice, you must follow the guidance at CH24160. There is no right of appeal against a tribunal approved notice.

FA08/SCH36/PARA34B

FA08/SCH36/PARA34C

SI 2005/3455