Newswatch – Tax protest by pension funds

Pension fund managers will hit out at the government today over the complexity of pension tax rules as they gather in Birmingham for their annual conference.

Dr Ann Robinson, director general of the National Association of Pension Funds, is expected to highlight a campaign, which she launched earlier this month, calling for simplification of the tax regime for pensions.

Speaking at the launch, she said: ‘It is essential to get a unified campaign under way as quickly as possible, since there is no sign that the tide of regulation is turning.’

The organisation – which represents 75% of the occupational pensions market, including schemes for employees of industrial giants such as Diageo, makers of Guinness – is calling for support to its proposal for a ‘pensions charter’.

This states that pensions should only be taxed once, and calls for a single regime for all pension arrangements.

The industry has already been angered by the abolition of advance corporation tax relief for pensions, and has also been hit by Inland Revenue investigations into share buy-backs as far back as 1994. Tax inspectors have been trying to reclaim tax credits arising from the buy-backs under anti-avoidance rules.

An NAPF spokesman said: ‘The current complex regime discourages employers from offering pension schemes, and uncertainty means people can be put off from taking out a pension even when a work-based scheme is on offer.’

The conference runs for two days.

Related reading