2023/24 Pensions Annual Allowance: Are you making the most of the increase?

February 28, 2024

The Pension Annual Allowance got a substantial boost in the 2023/24 tax year. If you haven't had a chance to check out how these changes could allow you to smartly contribute more to your pension, now's the perfect time. Taking a peek before the current tax year wraps up on 5 April 2024 might just bring some tax-efficient benefits your way. Let's make sure you're making the most of this opportunity!

The Annual Allowance is up to £60,000 in 2023/24

The Pension Annual Allowance explained

The Annual Allowance is like the sweet spot for adding to your pension with some tax relief magic! You can add a certain amount each tax year and still get that tax relief perk, so long as you don’t invest more than 100% of your annual earnings. In the 2023/24 tax year, the Annual Allowance limit was significantly increased from £40,000 to £60,000. So if you haven't given your pension contributions a check-up for this tax year, it might be time to consider a lump sum contribution.

Why your Pension Annual Allowance might be less than £60,000

Two circumstances might mean your Annual Allowance is lower than £60,000.

  1. If you’ve already taken an income from your pension, you may be affected by the Money Purchase Annual Allowance (MPAA), which is £10,000 in 2023/24. In 2022/23, it was just £4,000.
  2. The Annual Allowance of high earners may be tapered. If your adjusted annual income, which includes pension contributions, is more than £260,000 your Annual Allowance will fall by £1 for every £2 it exceeds this threshold. The Annual Allowance can be reduced by a maximum of £50,000 in 2023/24. So, if your adjusted income is £360,000 or more, your Annual Allowance would be £10,000. Again, this has increased from £4,000 when compared to 2022/23.

So, even if you’re not entitled to the full Annual Allowance, the amount you could tax-efficiently add to your pension may have increased this tax year. 

As a result, there might be an opportunity to save more tax-efficiently for your retirement.

You can carry forward your unused Annual Allowance for up to three tax years. Hence, it may be useful to review your past pension contributions too – you have until 5 April 2024 to use your Annual Allowance from the 2020/21 tax year.

4 financially-savvy reasons you might want to boost your pension contributions

1. Pension contributions benefit from tax relief

Pensions are often tax-efficient because your contributions may benefit from tax relief. As a result, some of the money you would have paid in tax is added to your pension.

Tax relief is given at the highest rate of Income Tax you pay. So, if you boosted your pension by £100, you’d receive an extra £25 if you’re a basic-rate taxpayer. Tax relief can be even more valuable if you’re a higher- or additional-rate taxpayer.

In most cases, your pension provider will claim tax relief at the basic-rate on your behalf. If you’re a higher- or additional-rate taxpayer, you’ll usually need to complete a self-assessment tax form to claim the full amount you’re entitled to.

2. Your employer may match increased pension contributions

If you’re employed, your employer will usually have to contribute to your pension on your behalf. The minimum employer contribution level is 3% of your pensionable earnings.

However, some employers will increase how much they contribute if you do. If your employer offers this as a perk, even a small increase in how much you’re adding to your pension each month could potentially give you more flexibility in retirement.

3. Returns on investments held in a pension aren’t liable for Capital Gains Tax

Returns from investments that aren’t held in a tax-efficient wrapper, like a pension, may be liable for Capital Gains Tax (CGT) if they exceed the annual exemption, which is £6,000 in 2023/24 and falling to £3,000 in 2024/25.

If you’re investing for your retirement, doing so through a pension could make financial sense from a tax perspective.

You should keep in mind that once you start taking an income from your pension, withdrawals may be liable for Income Tax.

4. Long-term investments may benefit from the effects of compounding

As you typically can’t withdraw money from a pension until you reach 55, rising to 57 in 2028, your investments may benefit from the effects of compounding.

The returns your pension investments earn will go on to be invested themselves and, hopefully, deliver further returns. Over a long time frame, this can help your savings start to grow at a faster pace.

As you could be saving into your pension for decades, compounding could lead to the value of regular contributions and one-off lump sums growing significantly.

Contact us to talk about your pension and retirement plans

If you’d like to understand if you’re on track for retirement or if increasing pension contributions is right for you, please get in touch. We’ll work with you to create a bespoke retirement plan that aligns with your long-term goals and current financial situation. Please contact us to arrange a meeting.

Please note: This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

A pension is a long-term investment not normally accessible until 55 (57 from April 2028). The fund value may fluctuate and can go down, which would have an impact on the level of pension benefits available. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.

The tax implications of pension withdrawals will be based on your individual circumstances. Thresholds, percentage

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