Annuity Rule Changes

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    Annuity Rule Changes

    CHANCELLOR SAYS THAT ABOLITION OF THE ANNUITY RULE ALLOWS MORE FLEXIBILITY

    The Chancellor erases the rule that forced pensioners to buy annuities before age 75

    Millions of pension savers were given a boost as the Chancellor of the Exchequer abolished the rules that forced those saving for pensions to purchase annuities before they reached 75 years of age. Another short-term measure has been implemented in its stead which has raised the age limit to 77. There is to be a consultation which will decide whether to completely eliminate this rule.

    The government budget stated that the rules which forced people to buy annuities before the age of 75 will be ended in April 2011 and will enable individuals to be more flexible with regards to their pension savings. As there will be a consultation coming up which will decide whether the whole issue should be scrapped entirely from next year, the new age limit had to be set for the moment.

    At present, those in possession of company pension schemes of a ‘money purchase’ nature which depends on stock market investment performance are forced to buy annuities before they reach 75 years of age. This is restrictive in light of the fact that these annuities are effectively going to provide you with income for the rest of your life.

    The head of pensions research at Hargreaves Lansdown, Tom McPhail, believes that the Chancellor’s statement will calm people’s fears and hopefully persuade them to commit money to a pension scheme in the future.

    Various pension groups were delighted that the government is seriously considering the scrapping of plans that will limit tax relief on the pensions of those with high wages. Labour had considered limiting the amount of tax relief that people could earn to £150,000. The Chancellor said that ministers would instead consider a variety of other means to save money on high earner’s pension contributions. One of these ideas is to limit the amount that people can save in a pension each year.

    Experts estimate that if the current annual allowance of £255,000 was slashed to £30-45,000 it would produce massive savings for the Treasury. In fact, it is believed that this measure would save upwards of £3.5 billion which is approximately the same amount that would be saved through reducing the tax relief of high earners. As an added bonus, it would also be easier to manage.