How to boost your pension savings and make the most of your personal tax allowance

As the end of the financial year approaches, could you boost your pension savings at the same time?

What is a single pension contribution?

This is a single payment made into a pension plan, making it different from the regular contributions that are deducted from your earnings. Because it’s ad hoc, you have the flexibility of making a payment when you can afford it.

Benefits of making a single contribution

  1. It could help with general tax planning. Higher earners can restore some or all of their personal tax allowance and reduce their yearly tax return, or reduce the value of their general estate for inheritance tax purposes.
  2. Make the most of the government boosting your savings. Full tax relief is available at your highest rate of income tax. Be aware that the deadline for the end of the tax year is 5 April and consider the pension tax annual allowance limits and rules.
  3. The earlier you pay, the bigger the potential impact. A single payment may build your pension savings more quickly. The longer your pension savings are invested, the longer they have to grow for your retirement.

Things to consider before making a single contribution into your pension:

  • Single contributions can be made at any time during the year, but if it’s after 5 April it will not count against your annual allowance until the next tax year.
  • You need to check the pension annual allowances and rules because if your single contribution doesn’t comply, you’ll have to pay a tax charge. 
  • The most you can pay into a pension in the tax year to benefit from tax relief is either 100% of your relevant UK earnings (up to the annual allowance) or £3,600 before tax – whichever is higher. 
  • The annual allowance limit for the current tax year is £60,000.
  • Once you’ve made the payment into your Smart Pension account, it can’t be refunded – it’s invested for your retirement.

Do you need impartial guidance or advice?

As a pension provider we can’t give financial advice – this article is for information only. If you need advice about the amount of your one-off contribution payment or more information about tax allowances and rules, you can pay to speak to a retirement adviser, or contact the MoneyHelper service for free, impartial guidance.

How do I make a single pension contribution?

HMRC requires that all single contributions are paid across to the pension provider before the tax year end deadline of 5 April. Payment process per individual pension providers might vary, so they should be contacted directly to understand their processes and requirements.

At Smart Pension we have simplified and streamlined our processes. If you are a Smart Pension member please see your two options below:

  1. Through your employer’s normal payroll

Employer’s normal payroll

  • This is paid through the same payroll process as your normal regular pension contributions.
  • Contact your employer’s payroll team to arrange this.
  1. Directly to us from your bank account
  • You can make the payment from your personal bank account.
  • You’ll need to claim tax relief on your one-off pension contribution in your tax return.
  • Fill out this form and return it to us, by 22 March if you want to meet the deadline of 5 April.
  • We will then be in touch within five working days with details about how to make the payment.
  • You will need to make the payment using a bank transfer which is activated by 29 March if you want to meet the deadline of 5 April.

Did you know you can combine your pension savings?

It’s easier to manage your pension savings if your money is all in one place. To save yourself admin time and potentially reduce the fees you pay, you could put your old pension savings together in your Smart Pension account. Read our transfer guide before deciding.

If you would like further information on single contributions or the pension scheme that Smart Pension offers please contact FCSA@smartpension.co.uk.

About Smart Pension

Launched in 2015, Smart Pension exceeds £5bn in assets under management (AUM) and now serves over one million members and more than 70,000 employers. It is powered by Keystone, Smart’s global savings and investments technology platform.

Aquiline Capital Partners, Barclays, Chrysalis Investments, DWS Group, Fidelity International Strategic Ventures, J.P. Morgan, Legal & General Investment Management, Link Group and Natixis Investment Managers are all investors in Smart Pension.