27 Sep, 2023

Pensions – More than just an income tax break!

As the tax return deadline looms for the self-employed, many farmers are rushing to seize the opportunity to secure their financial future by contributing to their pension accounts.

While the primary motivation for these contributions remains the valuable income tax relief they offer, it is essential to remember that pensions are more than just a tax-saving measure. In this fast-paced world, planning for retirement is an investment in a secure and comfortable future.

The significance of pension contributions cannot be overstated, especially when they provide a 20% income tax relief*. To put it in perspective, this is equivalent to the old SSIA scheme, where adding 25% to an SSIA contribution is similar to a 20% tax reduction on a pension contribution. If the SSIA was deemed a smart move, then it's evident that the Standard Rate tax relief on a pension is a commendable choice. (*Higher rate taxpayers can avail of tax relief at 40%)

What often gets lost in the frenzy leading up to the tax deadline are the numerous other benefits that come with contributing to your pension plan. Here are some of the compelling reasons to consider:

1. Income in Retirement:

· Pension plans are essentially savings vehicles that enable individuals to set aside a portion of their earnings during their working years for use during retirement.

· Depending solely on the state pension might not provide the desired quality of life during retirement. Building a pension fund to supplement the state pension is a prudent decision to maintain your lifestyle in retirement.

2. Tax-Free Growth:

· Albert Einstein famously referred to compound interest as the "eighth wonder of the world." Indeed, watching your savings grow is a remarkable phenomenon.

· A pension account allows your assets and deposits to accumulate without being subject to the eroding effects of Capital Gains Tax or DIRT (Deposit Interest Retention Tax).

3. Tax-Free Lump Sum:

· Upon retirement, you have the option to receive a portion of your pension fund as a tax-free lump sum.

· Sole traders can receive up to 25% of their fund as a tax-free lump sum, while those with occupational pensions may receive 25% of the fund or an amount equal to 1½ times their final salary.

4. Tax-Free Payment on Death:

· In the unfortunate event of a member's passing, funds held in Personal Pension, Retirement Bonds, and PRSA accounts are paid to the estate without any deduction of tax.

· Active members of an occupational pension scheme can provide substantial financial security for their beneficiaries, including a lump sum of 4 times their salary, along with their own contributions.

5. Succession Planning Tool:

· Many farmers view themselves as custodians of their land and wish to pass it down to the next generation.

· A pension plan can facilitate succession planning by providing financial security and a guaranteed income for life, making tough decisions more manageable.

For those interested in exploring the benefits mentioned above and how they apply to their pension plans, we encourage you to contact your local Ifac office. Our dedicated team is here to provide expert guidance and help you secure your financial future.

Pensions are not just about tax breaks; they are an essential tool for ensuring financial stability and peace of mind in your golden years. Don't miss the opportunity to invest in your future today.

Gareth Hayes

Talk to Gareth Hayes

Senior Financial Advisor01 4277400info@ifac.ieLinkedin