What kind of regulations are there for SSAS?

A comprehensive guide to Pensions and Investments for Investing in Property

One of the main attractions of a Small Self Administered Scheme (SSAS) is that members have much more control over their pensions than they do with traditional pensions. But does this control come at the expense of security? Not necessarily. An SSAS is regulated by a number of different bodies, as you’ll find out.
SSAS Is a Trust

To a certain extent, a SSAS is self-regulating. It’s a trust, which means that it’s run by trustees for the benefit of its members. In practice, the majority — if not all — members of a SSAS will be appointed as trustees.

  • Any member of a SSAS can be a trustee. Most choose to be, but it’s certainly not a requirement

  • A trustee does not have to be a member of the SSAS.

In the majority of cases, an SSAS is run by the members for the members, meaning there’s no outside influence from trustees who are not members of the scheme. The rules of the scheme are set by HMRC.

Why Might You Not Want to Be a Trustee?

Being a trustee comes with certain legal responsibilities. For instance, it’s the responsibility of a trustee to ensure that any tax owed is paid to HMRC. If any member of the SSAS doesn’t want this responsibility, they can choose not to be a trustee.

However, it’s worth considering the pros and cons of having members who are not trustees. Trustees have to demonstrate that they are acting in the best interest of all members of the SSAS. If all members of the SSAS are also trustees, this process is straightforward. If there are any non-trustee members, this can become complex.

Professional Trustees
It’s common practice to appoint a professional trustee to your SSAS. A professional trustee is tasked with the day-to-day management of the SSAS. This person should be experienced and possess a good understanding of pensions, tax laws and investment.It’s not a legal requirement to appoint a professional trustee (as of August 2018), but lawmakers may decide to change this.Think you might need a professional trustee for your SSAS? The Landlord’s Pension can help. Give us a call on 020 3907 8400 to discuss your options.
Registering with HMRC
One advantage of an SSAS is that it can be exempt from certain taxes, including Capital Gains tax. If you want to invest in property, it can often be more lucrative to invest in property via a SSAS.To qualify for tax-exempt status, an SSAS must be registered with HMRC. Each SSAS will also be granted a Pension Scheme Tax Reference (PSTR) number. It’s usually prudent to only start contributing to a SSAS (or make transfers from an existing pension) once you are registered. If you make contributions or transfers before being registered with HMRC, the contributions will not qualify for tax relief and transfers will be unauthorised.You should also know if any members of your SSAS hold a certificate of protection or a HMRC protection reference number, and if the Money Purchase Annual Allowance applies to them.
The Pensions Regulator
Lastly, workplace pensions, including SSAS, are regulated by the Pensions Regulator (TPR), which is sponsored by the Department of Work and Pensions. TPR is responsible for making sure all employers set up their employees with a pension and that employee pensions are protected.As an SSAS is a workplace pension, each SSAS must be registered with TPR if there is at least one employee enrolled. If the SSAS is made up of just one member, such as the employer, then it does not need to be registered with TPR. The Pensions Regulator can investigate and prosecute those who break the law.

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