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Document What will happen if the NHS Pension Scheme Pays my Annual Allowance charge to HMRC?

If we pay your annual allowance charge to HMRC for you we must recover the cost of paying it by permanently reducing your NHS benefits when you retire. The actual reduction is calculated using factors provided by the Scheme Actuary and these are on our website.


If we pay your annual allowance charge this amount is recorded as a notional negative defined contribution (DC) account on your pension record. In basic terms this is similar to NHS Pensions ‘loaning’ you money now to pay your tax bill, which you then repay back with interest when you retire or transfer out of the NHS scheme.


Interest must be added to the amount of annual allowance charge paid and this is applied each year is based on the previous September’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) figure plus the Superannuation Contributions Adjusted for Past Experience (SCAPE) discount rate. The SCAPE discount rate changed from 3% to 2.8% on 16 March 2016 and will reduce further to 2.4% from 1 April 2019.


Interest is applied from 1 January following receipt and acceptance of your scheme pays election. NHS Pensions reserves the right to change the amount of interest charged following guidance received from the Scheme Actuary


If you are a member of the:

  • 1995 Section - your pension and lump sum will be permanently reduced.

  • 2008 Section or the 2015 Scheme - your pension will be permanently reduced. This is the same if you moved from the 1995 Section to the 2008 Section under the Choice exercise.

If you die before we pay your annual allowance charge your election is cancelled and we will write to your estate to let them know that they retain liability for your annual allowance charge.


If we’ve paid the annual allowance charge to HMRC and then you die:

  • before your retirement – we write-off the total amount owing; or

  • after your retirement and your pension benefits had already been reduced - this has a consequential effect on the amount of initial dependent’s pension payable because this is calculated on your reduced pension in payment at the time of your death. A continuing dependent’s pension will be calculated on your unreduced pension.

Please ensure that you fully understand the implications of making a scheme pays election on your future NHS benefits before completing the election notice.


If you leave and transfer your NHS Pension rights to another pension scheme, your transfer value is reduced to recover the scheme pays cost.


Please ensure that you fully understand the implications of making a scheme pays election on your future NHS benefits before completing the scheme pays election notice.


You should read the guidance and factsheets available about scheme pays on our website.
NHS pay charge, scheme pays

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