The temptation to draw a sum of your pension before you hit 55 can be all too much for some. Companies have latched onto the idea of 'early pension release' and those enticed in are losing out on huge sums of money. While this isn't technically illegal, they will often hide the terms and conditions of your withdrawal within the small print of their policies. Here are a few things to look out for:
Tapping into your pension before you turn 55 will result in fees. Pension providers may charge you up to 30% on the total sum you withdraw which is a considerable chunk of money to miss out on. Further to this, the pension provider is then required (by law) to notify HMRC that you have withdrawn money from your account. This will be followed by a hefty 55% tax on the remaining amount you're left with after the previous 30% cost was incurred. Whether you felt you were aware of the potential costs or not, HMRC will require you to pay up. You can offer to pay the money back into your pension fund if you are yet to spend it but under certain circumstances, you will not be allowed to do so.
'I really need my pension before turning 55'
There are 2 exceptions where you may avoid fines:
1) you are severely ill and need to retire early for health reasons.
2) you had previously declared a 'protected retirement date' which brought the date of withdrawal forward. This had to have been created before 06/04/2006. This pension privilege is reserved for those in professions that are unrealistic to be in until the standard retirement age.
In both these cases, your money would be released to your directly from your pension provider.
After the age of 55, you are able to withdraw money from your pension plan whether you are officially retired or not. You can withdraw up to 25% entirely tax-free!
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