In this month’s issue we discuss with Patrick Good from Quilter Cheviot’s outlook on the opportunity for Personal Retirement Savings Account (PRSA) funding in 2023
Personal Retirement Savings Account (PRSA)regime offers business owners greater flexibility
From time to time, opportunities appear that generate genuine excitement for clients. In the world of pensions, this is usually a very rare occurrence but such is the opportunity for Personal Retirement Savings Account (PRSA) funding in 2023.
A rocky start
In the middle and latter part of 2022 there was little reason for cheer in the pension space. New EU regulations were being enforced in full, resulting in the cessation of single-member pensions schemes, commonly known as ‘executive pensions’.
This effectively locked business owners out of the pensions market – bad news for just about everyone. History has shown that entrepreneurs tend to focus their time, energy and resources on building successful businesses. Rarely do they take hard-earned funds and invest in their own pensions, particularly during the growth phase. There are simply far more pressing requirements for that capital.
When the business is successful, however, minds tend to turn to personal affairs. Until last summer, a business owner could open an executive pension and ‘back-fund’ this quite generously – a reward for contributing to the economy through employment and society in general via taxes for many years. With the regulatory changes, this window closed, and entrepreneurs were left with limited options.
What a difference 6 months make
The Pensions Authority instructed the industry to focus on PRSAs as a means of replacing executive pensions. However, PRSAs had very restrictive contribution rules, which provided little scope for the entrepreneurs to back fund their pensions. Employer-related PRSA contributions were recorded as benefit-in-kind (BIK) and formed part of an employee’s age-related contribution limits – capping the total contribution at 40% of EUR115,000 for anyone over 60 years of age, but only 20% for anyone aged 30 to 39, for example.
Significant lobbying from the pension and broker industry to amend the employer contributions rule proved successful. In the Finance Bill, the government announced that the BIK charge levied on employer PRSA contributions would be removed and employer contributions would, therefore, no longer be included under the personal funding cap.
The removal of this onerous limitation moved PRSAs from last place to first for business owners looking to contribute a lump sum to a pension.
Solution & opportunity
Under the previous executive pension regime, funding rules for employer contributions were generous but they also had their limits. The contributions received relief from a corporation tax perspective but, depending on type and size, there was a risk that this had to be spread over several years.
As of the 1st of January, for a PRSA, whether by design or by accident, the ‘executive pension’ rules have not been replicated and do not apply to PRSAs. This provides an even more generous funding opportunity than previously available – individuals who were behind from a pension funding perspective now have a significant opportunity to fix this in one fell swoop. Additionally, the employer contribution would be tax deductible in the year it is made, rather than spread over several years.
This flexible level of funding is an opportunity to extract wealth in a very tax-efficient manner from a company, while providing for the owner’s, employee’s or director’s retirement requirements.
There is a similar opportunity for sole traders that employ individuals in their business but have not incorporated.
At certain points, opportunities come around for those who have kept their powder dry. In the next Finance Bill, the government may announce legislation to reintroduce a limit on employer contributions to Personal Retirement Savings Accounts(PRSA), so this opportunity may only exist for 2023.
If you have any queries about this PRSA opportunity, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our advisory team at Jim@hegarty.ie, Niamh@hegarty.ie, Frank@hegarty.ie & Ross@hegarty.ie or alternatively you can call the office directly on 01 4972544. We would be happy to take you through the details and assist in evaluating your options.
This article does not constitute tax or legal advice.
Hegarty Financial Management 40 years caring for our clients financial wellbeing.
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