Print Posted By Lost in France on 16 Nov 2009 in Living in France - Banking, Taxes and Finance

Clock ticking on pension cash deadline

UK expats in France who want to access their pensions before the April 2010 age changes cannot afford to leave it a day longer, according to experts at Expat Pensions LLP.

"The deadline for actions such as taking your 25 per cent tax free cash is April 5, 2010, but you must have actually completed the process by that date, and whether that can be achieved in time varies from pension provider to pension provider," said Expat Pensions' partner Steve Griffin, who is responsible for the firm's French coverage.

"In some cases, in practical terms, you really need to start now in order to have completed the process by April 5, 2010."

He explained that in April 2010 the age when someone can take their pension goes up from 50 to 55.

"Until April 5, 2010, a pension can be drawn from the age of 50 but as I said you must have completed the process by that date to qualify."

He said that the new rules meant that those planning to use their pensions to boost their income or to draw the 25 per cent tax free lump sum had a very narrow window in which to act to protect their future finances.

"This will hit a wide range of people in their early 50s, ranging from expatriates who have suffered loss of income from the falling pound, to those wishing to clear loans such as mortgages before retiring, to those who want to make provision for issues such as their grandchildren's' schooling.

"It hits a wide range of people and the immediacy of these pension changes does not seem to have registered with the age range of the general public which is affected by them."

He said that six or seven months may seem a long time before April 2010 but pension providers were anticipating a last minute rush to take pensions before the age change rule comes into effect.

"The simple truth is that if you leave it much later than now or the early autumn, your application may get caught up in a huge logjam that will tie up many pension providers back office systems in knots and mean that they simply cannot respond in the time frame required.

"The financial services industry is used to deadlines but April 2010 is one of the biggest challenges it will have ever faced," he said.

For more information on the pension changes contact Steve Griffin, Expat Pensions LLP in France, Tel: 0033 457 19 91 80

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