Pensions have long been a highly tax-efficient way to save for retirement. If applicable to your particular situation, here are two opportunities you may wish to consider before the rules change next April.

 

50 per cent tax relief

While the 50 per cent additional tax rate is in place, it is still possible to receive up to 50 per cent tax relief on contributions to pensions during this current tax year. The 50 per cent rate will be reduced to 45 per cent from 6 April 2013, and this is therefore the last tax year to receive tax relief at up to 50 per cent on pension contributions.

Carry forward of unused reliefs

You may be able to contribute in excess of the annual allowance of £50,000 and receive tax relief using Carry Forward relief if you have contributed less than £50,000 in any of the previous three tax years. If you pay 50 per cent tax, you need to do this in the current tax year to maximise tax relief before it drops to 45 per cent. As this is a complex area, professional advice should be sought.

All figures relate to the 2012/13 tax year. A pension is a long-term investment, and the fund value may fluctuate and can go down. Your eventual income may depend upon the size of the fund at retirement, future interest rates and tax legislation.