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We answer some of the key pension questions that may affect expatriates in France and outline how you can make the most of today’s opportunities. 

1. How much tax will I pay? 

If you have not accessed your UK pension and then take it all as a lump sum, you could pay just 7.5% in French taxes (other conditions apply). Otherwise, taking cash or income from UK pensions attracts income tax rates up to 45% plus 9.1% social charges. 

However, you will avoid social charges if you hold the EU form S1 (available once you reach UK State Pension age) or have not joined the French healthcare system. Taking private health insurance could therefore reduce your pensions tax bill by 9.1%.


2. Will the lifetime pension allowance (LTA) affect me? 

Combined UK pension benefits (excluding the State Pension) over £1.03 million invite LTA tax penalties of 55% for lump sums or 25% for income and transfers, even if French resident. Once transferred overseas, funds are out of LTA range. 


3. Are there more tax-efficient opportunities in France? 

Transferring UK pensions to a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) or reinvesting funds into an ‘assurance-vie’ can unlock tax benefits, estate planning advantages and currency flexibility. But benefits can vary greatly, so take personalised, professional advice for the best results.


4. Will Brexit change things?

Today, French residents can transfer UK pensions to an EU/EEA-based QROPS tax-free (a 25% charge applies outside the bloc). Post-Brexit, the UK government may widen the net to capture transfers within the EU, and it may become harder to access UK pension funds tax-efficiently. 


5. Do I need regulated advice? 

Talking to an adviser who is regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority is compulsory when transferring ‘final-salary’ benefits worth £30,000+, but sensible for anyone considering their pension options. At worst, making the wrong decision could mean losing everything through unsuitable investments or pension scams. 

With Brexit only months away, now is the time to review your pension arrangements. A locally-based adviser can tailor a suitable strategy for your unique circumstances and goals to help secure the retirement you want in France. 

Contact us to arrange a pensions review

Summarised tax information is based upon our understanding of current laws and practices which may change. Individuals should seek personalised advice.