Extend NHS scheme pays deadline, government urged

Writes James Phillips

The government has been urged to extend the scheme pays deadline for NHS Pension Scheme members in light of the Covid-19 crisis.

In a letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, health and social care secretary Matt Hancock, and economic secretary to the Treasury John Glen, Quilter called for a six-month extension overall or a later deadline for the NHS Scheme in particular.

This would allow for retrospective NHS scheme pays elections within the same four-year time period that is available for those who are able to amend an existing election, the firm said.

Scheme pays allows annual allowance charges of more than £2,000 to be settled through the pension scheme, rather than the member needing to find cash upfront. Many doctors continue to face legacy annual allowance issues, despite the Treasury increasing the adjusted income and threshold income levels under the tapered annual allowance by £90,000 as part of this year’s Budget.

Head of retirement policy Jon Greer said: “We are seeing a number of doctors who are only now realising that they have annual allowance liabilities for historic tax years. As the NHS Scheme Pays deadline has passed for those tax years, doctors have fewer options to settle the annual allowance charge and some are having to resort to taking on significant debts.

“Extending the deadline for scheme pays would at least ensure all doctors are given adequate time to plan and are not adversely impacted by pension tax rules while they are focused on fighting Covid-19.”