For individuals receiving UK pensions, Malta has now become one of the jurisdictions which meet HMRC regulations for QROPS.
What are QROPS?
This is a scheme launched by HMRC in 2006 through which persons who would have accumulated a pension in the UK can move their pension to their new place of residence. This means that an individual who would have accumulated benefits under a private pension in the UK, but would have then decided to shift residence outside the UK could transfer such benefits to a Maltese QROPS.
Why Malta for QROPS?
Malta has established QROPS schemes which fit the requirements of HMRC, making Malta one of the most reputable jurisdictions for QROPS with no possibility of conflicts with HMRC’s requirements. Persons establishing a QROP in Malta would enjoy considerable tax flexibility on the pension’s benefits.
Creation of a QROPS in Malta requires the setting-up of a retirement scheme generally through a trust or an agreement drawn in line with the Special Funds (Regulation) Act 2002. Each QROPS must be formally approved by the HMRC as a qualifying QROPS, nevertheless, owing to Malta’s regulations being based on the actual requirements of HMRC, approval is usually straightforward.
QROPS holders are subject to highly beneficial progressive tax rates and would be only liable to Maltese tax on income which is brought into Malta. Therefore, any income not brought into Malta or any capital gains (irrespective if brought in Malta or not) is not subject to any taxation in Malta. Recently, the Malta Retirement Programme (has been introduced with the aim of allowing pensioners who obtain Maltese residence to avail of a flat tax rate of only 15% on their pension income brought into Malta.