Launch of HMRC's lifetime allowance online service

Applications for fixed and individual protection must now be made online 

HMRC has launched a new online service for pension scheme members to apply to protect their pension savings from the lifetime allowance tax charge. 

This service replaces the interim paper process for applying for fixed protection 2016 (FP2016) and individual protection 2016 (IP2016) and replaces the online form for applying for individual protection 2014 (IP2014).  

From now on, pension scheme members who want to apply for lifetime allowance protection will have to do so online. The interim process is no longer available for applications after 31 July 2016. 

HMRC has provided us with more information about the new service, as follows. 

The new online service
The online service can be found via Pension schemes: protect your lifetime allowance - Detailed guidance - GOV.UK. This page also gives more details about the protections and who can apply for them. 

You will need an HMRC Online Services Account in order to apply – see HMRC services: sign in or register – GOV.UK

As this is an online service, pension scheme members will no longer receive paper certificates with their lifetime allowance protection details. Instead they will be able to view their protection details online and print them off. 

People who are unable to use the online service can contact the HMRC Pensions Helpline for help with applying for protection – Pension schemes - Contact HM Revenue & Customs - GOV.UK 

Withdrawal of the interim paper application process
With the launch of the online service, HMRC will no longer process applications for lifetime allowance protection made using the interim process. Any applications made after 31 July 2016 using the interim paper process will be returned and HMRC will direct the member to the online service to make their application.  

HMRC will process any interim applications on hand at 31 July 2016. If the application is successful HMRC will issue these members with a permanent protection notification number. Members with permanent protection notification numbers will not need to reapply online and will be able to view details of their protection in their HMRC Online Services Account. 

Temporary reference numbers
In Pension Schemes Newsletter 78 in May 2016, HMRC explained that from August 2016 onwards it will only recognise permanent protection notification numbers. 

In addition, when the pension scheme administrator look-up service becomes available later in the year, the service will only validate permanent protection notification numbers. 

When an individual applies for a permanent protection notification number, details of their IP2016 or FP2016 (and any previous lifetime allowance protections) will show in their personal tax account. HMRC explained that as more services are added the personal tax account will be populated with more details for members to access at any time.