QNUPS stands for Qualifying Non UK Pension Schemes. They were brought about by UK government regulations which came into force in February 2010, and offer a number of advantages to people who want a tax efficient way to save for their retirement.
The first thing to note about the schemes is that they are exempt from UK inheritance tax. This was explicitly confirmed in the regulations when they came out. Prior to that point there had been a question mark over whether certain types of overseas pension schemes attracted UK IHT or not.
Despite the obvious attraction of QNUPS for this reason, IHT efficiency is not their only advantage over leaving your pension assets in the United Kingdom.
At present there is no maximum age for investing in a QNUPS. This will appeal to people who want to continue to make contributions to their pension fund after the standard retirement age. In any event, with trends in employment changing to accommodate older people’s plans to work for longer, this is a welcome development for many.
Further clarification from HMRC is awaited on the issue but there is currently no maximum limit on how much can be contributed to a QNUPS.
Most QNUPS are not investment controlled in the same way that QROPS are. Accordingly, there are far more asset classes which can be contributed to QNUPS than may be available to other forms of offshore pensions.
Finally, given that QNUPS do not have to be in countries that have a double taxation agreement with the United Kingdom, there are no reporting requirements for most QNUPS (unless they also happen to be a QROPS). Accordingly, QNUPS are, to a certain extent, confidential.
QNUPS are still in their infancy and there will no doubt be some announcements and clarifications about them from HMRC. As with all important financial decisions, getting a QNUPS is something that needs professional advice from a qualified person.