How to plan for re­tire­ment back in UK

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - COMMENT - By Michael Do­herty

When we think of re­tir­ing to an­other coun­try what comes to mind, for most of us, is a move from the UK to a sun­shine des­ti­na­tion such as Cyprus.

But for many ex­pats the move is in the other direc­tion. They have spent years liv­ing and work­ing abroad and now they are plan­ning a re­turn to Bri­tain.

It is, on the face of it, an eas­ier move. You are, af­ter all, a Bri­tish cit­i­zen. You know the UK. But the coun­try you left will have changed quite a lot and there is a web of rules and reg­u­la­tions to nav­i­gate be­fore you can set­tle back in.

Here are some point­ers that will make the move a eas­ier.







As a Bri­tish cit­i­zen and res­i­dent, you will pay taxes on both your UK in­come and gains, and any for­eign in­come and gains, un­less your per­ma­nent home re­mains out­side the UK. You should reg­is­ter for a self-as­sess­ment, es­pe­cially if you’re an en­tre­pre­neur or if you will con­tinue earn­ing for­eign in­come once you’ve re­turned to Bri­tain.

Make sure you un­der­stand and set­tle all out­stand­ing pay­ments in Cyprus or any other coun­try where you have been liv­ing. If pos­si­ble, have your health and den­tal records sent back to the UK. Once re­ceived, they can be en­tered into the NHS data sys­tem, which will cre­ate a more com­plete pic­ture of your health pro­file. You may need an of­fi­cial trans­la­tor to tran­scribe your files into English - the NHS won’t ac­cept doc­u­men­ta­tion in other lan­guages.

It is eas­ier to look for a per­ma­nent home from in­side the coun­try, so ar­range a tem­po­rary place to stay. Once you are cer­tain about the move, sell your prop­erty abroad - it is very dif­fi­cult to co-or­di­nate the pur­chase of a house in Bri­tain with the sale of a prop­erty in Cyprus.

You will prob­a­bly want to send money home be­fore you ac­tu­ally make the move. If you have kept your Bri­tish bank ac­count open, you can trans­fer money di­rectly into it. If you open a multi-cur­rency ac­count, you can hold and man­age money in sev­eral dif­fer­ent cur­ren­cies, pay­ing bills in the cur­rency that suits you. You can use bank trans­fers to move your money to the UK but be aware that banks of­ten im­pose steep sur­charges for this ser­vice.

If you have a pen­sion abroad, you should con­sider mov­ing it back to the UK. Take ad­vice on this, for the value of this move varies with cir­cum­stances, but UK pen­sions have favourable terms, and hav­ing a do­mes­tic pen­sion can re­move holdups when you need ac­cess to your money.

It is prob­a­ble that your for­eign pen­sion will be in a Qual­i­fy­ing Recog­nised Over­seas Pen­sion Scheme (QROPS). Un­der this scheme, the Bri­tish gov­ern­ment has created a frame­work for in­di­vid­u­als who want to re­turn home even­tu­ally.

You can trans­fer it to any ap­proved UK pen­sion pot with­out pay­ing taxes or penal­ties or you can leave where it is, and when the time comes to with­draw ben­e­fits, you will be taxed as though it were a do­mes­tic UK pen­sion.

You may be en­ti­tled to a re­fund if your pen­sion has al­ready been taxed abroad, since UK pen­sion­ers ex­pect to pay less than 30% tax.

Many Bri­tish ad­vis­ers won’t be trained or au­tho­rised to work on in­ter­na­tional pen­sions. The Wood­brook Group has qual­i­fied pro­fes­sion­als who can of­fer ad­vice on QROPS which, you can rest as­sured, we will ful­fil all the le­gal re­quire­ments. If you would like to know more about your op­tions in re­la­tion to your pen­sion, please do not hes­i­tate to con­tact us at pen­sion@wood­brook­


Wher­ever you in­tend to re­tire, plan­ning is the key to suc­cess. The Wood­brook Group can of­fer ad­vice on how to en­sure that your pen­sion sav­ings are im­proved and pro­tected so there are no un­pleas­ant sur­prises when the time comes. We can help you un­der­stand your op­tions, how to ad­dress your in­come needs in re­tire­ment and how much wealth you will need to sup­port it. Michael Do­herty is CEO of the Wood­brook Group Tel: +357 25272820 www.wood­brook­

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