Can I transfer my UK pension to New Zealand in 2023? 

New Zealand is a hotspot for British retirees. With 60,000 UK nationals living in New Zealand as of 2023, it is one of the most popular destinations for British expats. Making the move means living, working, and retiring according to a whole new set of rules – making it essential to get to grips with the need-to-know before making the leap.  

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Transferring your pension plan from the UK to New Zealand can be complex. Since new pension regulations came into force in April 2015, the tax implications and eligibility criteria for transferring UK pensions have changed significantly. This bite-size guide will explore important considerations and provide insights into the process of transferring a UK pension to New Zealand in 2023.

Discover the expert insights you need with financial advisor Will Heather! Join us as we tackle the most commonly asked questions surrounding the process of transferring your UK pension to beautiful New Zealand.

Tax Implications and Eligibility Criteria 

Before contemplating a transfer, it is crucial to understand the tax implications involved. The UK government’s financial advice service, Money Helper, strongly advises taking professional advice before transferring your pension. A financial advisor can help you across many areas, including dealing with any potential tax liabilities associated with transferring your pension. 

In New Zealand, the tax treatment of pension transfers varies depending on the type of pension scheme. Generally, transferring your UK pension to a New Zealand pension scheme could have tax advantages. One option is to transfer your UK pension to a KiwiSaver scheme, which is New Zealand’s voluntary retirement savings program. KiwiSaver schemes can provide benefits such as tax credits and employer contributions, but it’s important to consider the specific rules and regulations that govern these schemes. 

Alternatively, you can transfer your UK pension to a New Zealand superannuation scheme. The New Zealand Superannuation is a state pension scheme that provides a basic income for retired individuals.  

Qualified Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS) 

The UK allows transfers to Qualified Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS). These schemes are recognised by HM Revenue & Customs and offer an avenue to transfer your UK pension to another country, including New Zealand. By transferring your pension to a QROPS, you could potentially take advantage of the tax rules and benefits of the destination country. 

Transferring your UK pension to New Zealand via a QROPS requires careful consideration and compliance with specific regulations. It is recommended to seek advice from financial advisers who specialise in pension transfers and are familiar with QROPS. 

Process and Considerations 

The process of transferring a UK pension to New Zealand involves multiple steps and considerations. Here are some key points to keep in mind: 

  1. Seek Professional Advice: Given the complexity of pension transfers and tax implications, it is crucial to consult with qualified financial advisers who can guide you through the process and provide tailored advice based on your circumstances. 
  1. Understand Your UK Pension Scheme: Familiarise yourself with the terms and conditions of your UK pension scheme. Different pension schemes have varying rules and restrictions regarding transfers, so it is essential to understand the specific requirements. 
  1. Assess the New Zealand Scheme: Explore your options to determine which one aligns with your retirement goals and financial needs. A qualified financial advisor can help tailor a bespoke pension plan which meets your needs.  
  2. Contact Revenues & Customs: Notify HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) about your intention to transfer your UK pension to a QROPS. HMRC will provide the necessary documentation and guidance to proceed with the transfer.

Transferring your UK pension to New Zealand in 2023 is possible but requires careful consideration of the tax implications and compliance with the regulations in both countries. Seeking professional advice from qualified financial advisers with expertise in pension transfers and QROPS is highly recommended. They can provide you with tailored advice based on your specific circumstances, ensuring you make informed decisions regarding your pension transfer. 

The deVere Group stands ready to provide support and guidance with a pension transfer. Trusted advisors at deVere can trace all of your existing entitlements, request a full schedule of benefits, and provide up-to-date valuations so you are clear about the value of your pension.


Mario Laghos​

Mario Laghos is a journalist. His work has appeared in the European Conservative, Whynow, the Critic, and the Daily Express.

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