GMP payments delayed due to HMRC data provision postponement

HMRC has announced that it is delaying its deadline for providing potentially vital data that would allow schemes to pay out the guaranteed minimum pension (GMP) benefits its members are entitled to.

The tax office stated that it expected to start issuing the final pension data sets in mid-November 2019, after it initially announced that it would be issuing the data in March.

The delay, outlined in HMRC’s Countdown Bulletin for May 2019, means that DB pension schemes that are still waiting for data on for their members’ GMPs will not receive the information until November.

The data related to contribution payments mistakenly made by people who had contracted out the of the state pension and resulted in some members being underpaid or overpaid.

HMRC has stated that it needs more time to check through the pension records, although this will delay GMP payments due to the data being needed for scheme to start equalising male and female pension benefits.

Commenting on the announcement, Hymans Robertson head of GMP equalisation, Matt Davis, said: “Pension schemes that may have the most problems with the delay are those working on transactions, such as buy-ins, or member option exercises. Uncertainty over data increases complexity and costs to schemes.

“Some GMP equalisation projects may be held up whilst waiting for the final list of GMP reconciliation data from HMRC. The danger here, given the size of the task, is there may turn out to be further delays.

“Whilst plans will need to be flexible, schemes can be looking at the quality of the other data they hold and building understanding to help make the right strategic call around the overall choice of method.”

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