The industry will need to scrutinise Budget announcements on national insurance contributions (NIC) for employers closely, the Pensions Policy Institute (PPI) warns.
Speaking at the launch of a report from the Resolution Foundation about pensions tax relief, PPI director Chris Curry observed the consultation launched by the Treasury last summer did not mention NICs.
While recent reports have revealed Osborne has shelved any ideas of major reforms to relief, previous estimates have put a number of NI relief on employer pension contributions at about £14bn in the 2013/14 tax year.
Curry said: "What makes me very nervous about that [NICs] is if you look at where most of the tax relief goes and then where most of the contribution comes from, they come from employers.
"The whole system of automatic enrolment is predicated on people going through the workplace and having employers put money into the pension scheme. It is efficient for them to do that."
If there was no relief for firms on NICs, then that could lead to employers preferring to give workers a higher salary instead of contributions to their pensions, he added.
The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) launched its consultation into the closer alignment of income tax and NICs last December.
It published its recommendations on closer alignment of income tax and NICs on 7 March.
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