If you're a pension scheme administrator, find out how to identify all the members of your contracted-out pension schemes.
National Insurance Services to Pensions Industry (NISPI) provide a number of services to help pension scheme administrators of contracted-out pension schemes.
Scheme Reconciliation Service (SRS)
The SRS allows pension scheme administrators to reconcile their membership and Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP) data against the records held by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Registration for this service is the first step in a process to support the ending of contracting-out in April 2016.
Further activities and their timelines are given in the table below.
|December 2013 to April 2016||Registration for SRS|
|April 2014 to April 2016||
SRS for non-active members
Scheme Contracted-out Number (SCON) mandation via Real Time Information (RTI) for active members
NISPI business as usual
|April 2016||Tracking ends|
|December 2016||Closure scan (schedules to schemes)|
|April 2016 to December 2018||
NISPI support for queries generated from SRS
NISPI support for business as usual queries
|December 2016 to December 2018||NISPI support for queries generated by schedules to schemes|
|December 2018||Pension statements issued to all individuals|
|December 2018 to April 2020||NISPI support for queries generated by statements to individuals|
|April 2016 to April 2046||GMP Portal (limited NISPI support)|
The service gives a list of contracted-out periods and GMP data for members who have left contracted-out employment. This includes early leavers, pensioners, widows, widowers and surviving civil partners.
The service is available to all defined benefit schemes that have contracted-out rights preserved within the scheme.
You can’t use this service if you have ongoing work within the scheme cessation area.
Scheme reconciliation information
You can request contributions and earnings information to carry out GMP reconciliation and this information will be provided by the Contracted-Out Contributions/Earnings Information Service (COCIS). However, your request for earnings information and the response from HMRC will be managed via your Shared Workspace e-room.
Please note that:
- membership categories are determined by the members’ status at the date the data is produced
- early leavers are members who are under State Pension age when the data is produced
- pensioners are members who are over State Pension age when the data is produced
- widows, widowers and surviving civil partners is information about deceased members who have a surviving spouse or civil partner when the data is produced - the data shows the member’s details not the spouse/surviving civil partner
- the incomplete record category contains information where HMRC have identified the individual as being a member of the scheme but are unable to give details of the member’s contracted-out period or GMP amount
- the contracted-out employment periods include any transfers in to scheme membership
The GMP amount for:
- early leavers is the amount when the member left the scheme
- pensioners is the amount when the member reaches State Pension age
- widows, widowers and surviving civil partners is the amount at the member’s death - unless the member was over State Pension age at the date of death and their spouse was under State Pension age in which case any post 1988 GMP will be half the GMP at the member’s State Pension age
- if a period includes any transfers the revaluation rate is shown against the final contracted-out period
- if a pensioner member worked up to their Final Relevant Year (FRY) the revaluation rate will be shown as S148
Making a scheme reconciliation request
Complete the online request form to use the SRS.
You can request information for up to a maximum of 50 schemes using this form. HMRC will contact scheme administrators who complete the online request form with further details about registering for and setting up on Shared Workspace. HMRC will also ask:
for the name and contact details of a Customer Organisation Representative (COR) as well as a Customer Named Contact (CNC) if there is one
the preferred date for receipt of SCON Reconciliation Information
whether the administrator needs the approval of Trustees before reconciliation can be started and when they would expect to obtain that approval
how soon after starting reconciliation would administrators expect to start returning bulk queries to HMRC
whether COCIS data is required
All requests must be made by April 2016. HMRC can’t provide scheme reconciliation information for any requests after this date because the closure scan activity will affect the membership that the SRS identifies. However HMRC will continue to respond to membership and GMP queries until December 2018.
If you need to raise any queries your Shared Workspace scheme reconciliation e-Room contains a template which can be used to raise individual or bulk membership queries. HMRC will investigate your query and reply to you via your Shared Workspace e-Room.
If your query is about how to pay a Contributions Equivalent Premium (CEP) there is guidance here.
Apparent un-notified terminations (AUTs)
AUTs are produced when HMRC identify a break in contracted-out employment where they haven’t received a termination notice. HMRC have re-prioritised the AUTs workload and changed their processes to reduce contact with schemes and to prevent additional scheme reconciliation queries.
If the contracted-out period of employment starts before 6 April 1997 HMRC will use the main SCON if they can to enforce a GMP. Where a GMP has been enforced schemes will receive a GMP Statement (CA1625) with a reference of “enf” along with an abbreviation of the employer name.
If the membership period starts after 5 April 1997 HMRC will use the main SCON if they can to enforce a Contracted-out Salary Related (COSR) termination notice. Where a COSR termination has been enforced schemes will receive a letter providing details of the member and their employment.
HMRC asks schemes to give priority to this workload and to contact them immediately with the correct details if the incorrect SCON is shown on an enforced CA1625 or COSR termination.
Contracted Out Contributions/Earnings Information Service (COCIS)
COCIS provides contracted-out contributions and earnings information on:
- contracted out contributions from tax years 1978 to 1986
- contracted out earnings from tax years 1987 to 1999
- figures from two linked periods of employment under the same scheme (if appropriate)
You can only use this service for more than 50 members at a time if you are using it through the business as usual route. If you are using it through the SRS this doesn’t apply. You need to provide:
- names, National Insurance numbers and scheme reference numbers for any member that you want contributions or earnings information for
- a SCON
- an ECON that you expect contributions or earnings to be listed under
If you want contributions or earnings information for a deceased member you give their details not the beneficiary’s details.
Accrued GMP Liability Service (AGLS)
This service gives details of Accrued GMP Liabilities. HMRC recommend that you use Shared Workspace to request AGLS. AGLS provides:
- a weekly GMP figure – for contributions after 6 April 1988
- the option of a dual calculation (true and opposite sex) that can be used for equalisation – for contributions after 6 April 1990
You’ll be given information up to the end of the last tax year unless you ask for a different tax year - as long as it’s not in the future. If the scheme is no longer contracted-out the figures are automatically re-valued to that date. This service can be used for active members and leavers.
You’ll need to provide:
- names, National Insurance numbers and scheme reference numbers for any member that you want to know the GMP amount for
- the date you want the GMP amount to be given for if this is different from the end of the last tax year
- a SCON
- an ECON for active members
Contracted-out Magnetic Media Service (COMMS)
You need to continue to send termination and transfer notices for any periods of contracted-out employment that end on or before 5 April 2016. You can use this service instead of sending the equivalent paper form listed in the table below. You’ll receive a report approximately 30 days after the data has been processed onto the HMRC system.
|Termination or Transfer Type Description||CA Form equivalent||Designator||Type of Scheme|
|GMP to be revalued at a fixed rate with no premium payable||CA1615(RD560)||TB||COSR|
|GMP to be revalued using section 148 orders (previously section 21)||CA1616(RD560)||TA||COSR|
|Transfer of accrued pensions rights, including GMP rights to be valued at a fixed rate with no premium payable||CA1599(RD562A)||TN||COSR|
|Recommencement of employment under a different employer using the same scheme||CA1609(RD569)||TE||COSR|
|Transfer of accrued pension rights, including GMP rights to be revalued using section 148 orders (previously section21)||CA1617(RD562)||TC||COSR|
|Notice of Preservation within a COSR Scheme||CA1886||EN||COSR|
|Transfer notification of COSR rights to a COSR, COMP or APP||CA1887||EO||COSR|
|Change of RPA of COSR rights to COSR, COMP or APP||CA1888||EX||COSR|
|Termination and change of RPA of COSR rights to COSR, COMP or APP||CA1889||EL||COSR|
This service requires an input file and produces an output file. Examples of the formats can be viewed here.
National Insurance number/Date of Birth Checking Service
The National Insurance number/Date of Birth Checking Service compares the National Insurance numbers and dates of birth held in pension scheme records against the information held by HMRC.
The service produces an output file showing details of National Insurance numbers and dates of birth where the information supplied by the scheme is different to HMRC’s records. Examples of the format of the input and output files can be seen here.
Shared Workspace Service
HMRC recommend that you use Shared Workspace to carry out the scheme cessation reconciliation process.
There must be at least 50 members in a scheme to use Shared Workspace. When a scheme is loaded to Shared Workspace a caseworker is allocated to work with the administrator to complete the process. The first action taken is to identify any money that needs to be paid by or refunded to the scheme. Scheme data held by the pension scheme and HMRC is then merged so that the administrator can identify any membership discrepancies. The caseworker will deal with any membership queries that the administrator identifies before dealing with any other discrepancies. Each Shared Workspace overview room has electronic forms and re-input schedules to use to make bulk notifications to HMRC.
Further information about Shared Workspace is available here.
If you want to use Shared Workspace for scheme cessation you should send an email enquiry.
Pension scheme administrators can also use Shared Workspace for the activities detailed below.
Pension Account Maintenance (PAM) to:
- send and receive GMP/Contracted-out Deductions (COD) calculations
- submit Electronic Termination Notices
- submit and receive data for AGLS, COCIS, National Insurance number/Date of Birth and COMMS
Contracted out Salary Related (COSR) and Retirement Pension Widows Benefit (RPWB) to:
- request and receive CEP/earnings information (single items)
- request and receive GMP/earnings information (single items)
- make enquiries about scheme members (General correspondence)
- make bulk enquiries
Personal pensions (PP) payment run processing dates 2014 to 2015
|Month||National Insurance and Pay As You Earn Service (NPS) PP Processing date||VOCA (BACS) PP Processing date||VOCA (BACS) PP Payment date|
The last scheduled PP payment run of 2014 to 2015 is on the 14 March 2015 with payments and recoveries being made to or from schemes on 1 April 2015. There will then be an ad-hoc and final run on 4 and 5 April to identify payments and recoveries created on or after 14 March. Any payments and recoveries due to or from schemes will be made on 1 May 2015.
From 6 April 2015 HMRC will continue to make rebate payments, and request recoveries, for tax years up to and including 2011 to 2012. A new process will be introduced to invite applications for late payments from individuals, and to request recoveries from schemes. The volume of payments and recoveries will be low as they will only be triggered by late posting of earnings and National Insurance account changes affecting tax years prior to 2012 to 2013. Recovery requests nclude Tax Relief, but payments don’t.
As payments after 6 April 2015 will be made to the individual, the last unallocated payment reports that schemes need to send to HMRC will relate to the ad hoc run on 4 and 5 April.
For comprehensive NISPI guidance their manuals, leaflets and contracted-out National Insurance tables are available.
NISPI news and updates
NISPI have released a series of Countdown Bulletins providing more information on the ending of contracting-out.
To use any of the services NISPI offers or if you want any more information contact them.