EUROPE - Tax harmonisation - the key to cross-border pension schemes - is high on Europe's agenda for next year.
Head of the European constitutional convention, Giscard d’Estaing, says tax harmonisation will definitely be included in a draft paper which will form the basis of a new EU treaty.
UK law firm Linklaters’ pensions litigation partner Mark Blyth says tax harmonisation will be the final step in the realisation of cross-border pension plans for multinational firms.
But he warned a new treaty was still a “long way off” and companies should not rest their hopes on European agenda.
A key opponent of European tax harmonisation is the Confederation of British Industry.
CBI pensions officer Jamie Bell said: “We recognise the desirability of running a pan-European scheme for big companies, but there are issues about how you do that in the EU.
“Tax harmonisation would simply not be good for British industry.”
- Pan-European pension schemes moved one step closer last month after a landmark European Court of Justice ruling.
The case was brought by a Finnish citizen, Danner, who was refused tax relief on pensions contributions on the grounds he was paying into a foreign (German) policy.
The court decided Finland’s actions were contrary to EU law and said member states must either give tax relief on contributions to foreign pension schemes or allow a tax-free treatment of the foreign pension when it is paid out.
The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) is in the process of convening an industry-wide group to take forward the work of the Institutional Disclosure Working Group (IDWG).
The Transfers and Re-registration Industry Group (TRIG) has given its support to an initiative which aims to complete occupational pension transfers within three weeks.
Scottish Widows has completed a bulk annuity deal for the Hitachi UK Limited Pension Scheme.