I encounter many recently retired people who have purchased property in St Lucia and have relocated to a life of leisure. It is easy to see why, as this is a beautiful place to live and ideal for those looking to unwind and indulge in luxury after a lifetime of working 9 to 5. Before buying a yacht and setting sail into the sunset, it is important that you consider your pension and tax. It may be the last thing on your mind, but this will help you to maximise your retirement and be able to lead the lifestyle you have been dreaming of. Recent changes have meant that you are now able to be a member of a UK registered scheme no matter where you live. There are three options for those that relocate overseas. 1. Stay in your Current Plan You can remain in your current plan, which will allow you to request early payment from 55. You can then take 25% as a lump sum and receive the remainder as a pension to last your lifetime. 2. Transfer to a New Plan If your plan is a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS), you may be able to transfer to an arrangement here in St Lucia. 3. Pay into Your Scheme from Overseas There are no longer limitations on the amount that you or an employer can pay into a scheme from abroad. However, tax relief may be limited or unavailable. Receiving Your Pension For those already receiving their State Pension, you will need to inform the Pension Service before relocating. You are able to receive your money, but you will not benefit from yearly increases unless you live in the UK for at least 6 months out of the year. To find out more about claiming your money on the island, I recommend that you contact the International Pension Centre. Checklist Before Moving I suggest doing the following before moving: • Obtain a State Pension Statement (available by post or telephone from the Future Pension Centre) • Contact HM Revenue & Customs to find out about tax liability on income over the UK personal allowance • Inform HM Revenue & Customs, Charity, Assets & Residence, the Department for Work and Pensions and your social security office that you are moving abroad and provide them with the address of your property in St Lucia. • Speak to a financial advisor about offshore banking – you may be able to reduce your tax liability by setting up an international bank account If you have recently invested in property in St Lucia and have plans to retire here and spend your days soaking up the sun out on the water; your pension and tax will not be in your immediate thoughts. Due to a few recent changes, there are now a few options for you to consider and there is important information that you should be aware of. To discuss any of this in further detail and to find out more about retiring to this tropical paradise, give me a call today and I’ll be happy to help. Adam Gobat is a renowned expert on the Caribbean, with a passion for its culture, history, people and places. His indepth local knowledge and wealth of experience in property in St Lucia are key to the marketing and sales of the luxury villas and penthouses in The Landings, one of the most desirable freehold beachfront developments in the Caribbean.
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