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HMRC cracks down on pension ‘liberation’ fraud

HM REVENUE & CUSTOMS is set to de-register up to 500 pension ‘liberation’ providers as part of a wider crackdown on the schemes, Accountancy Age‘s sister title IFAonline reports.

HMRC is reviewing its registration procedures for providers and will soon de-list hundreds of schemes, the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) Felicity Johnson said on Monday.

Pension liberation schemes offer savers access to their pension funds before the age of 55, but the move could trigger a 70% tax charge.

The announcement by HMRC is part of wider action being taken by the FCA, the Pensions Regulator, the Serious Fraud Office and other organisations to prevent the spread of liberation schemes.

“The vast majority of pension funds abide by their legal obligations but we won’t hesitate to deregister a pension scheme where rules are not adhered to,” HMRC spokesman Patrick O’Brien said.

When a scheme is de-registered, the administrator will be liable to a tax charge of 40% of the total sums and assets held immediately before deregistration.

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