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bigduckontax, Accountant
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I am a 55 year old female who has just retired from the Royal

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I am a 55 year old female who has just retired from the Royal Air Force with an AFPS pot of £507,718.33 ( 33.8% of my pension LTA).

I do intend working for at least the next 10 years within PAYE (possibly also PLC-contractor work beyond 65).

While it seems unlikely I will breach the LTA on current figures I would like to protect my lTA limit. Obviously I ( and the MoD) no linger pay into my AFPS, but I do have a suspended private pension which I am considering transferring into a SIPP.

My questions are:

Do I use a Fixed Protection form for the AFPS pension - I am already in receipt of this pension-and does completing this form mean I cannot open a SIPP and continue to pay into a SIPP or any future employers pension scheme.

Also, what would the position be if I joined the RAF reserve?

Would is be better if I complete the Individual Protection form?

Regards, XXXXX
Hello Anne, I'm Keith and happy to help you with your question. It is your unlucky day because you are dealing with an ex Pongo, a retired RAPC and AGC(SPS) Major, who also happens to be an accountant!

Lifetime Allowance Charges (LAC) apply to pension pots over the limit. You could Fixed Protect, but you effectively freeze your pension pots. If you elect for Individual Protection you can still continue to contribute, but LACs will only apply to the contributions made post freeze. You also have more time to elect for Individual Protection. I will come back with more data on time limits in a few moments.

However, as an ex Service Person [please note politically correct nomenclature] your situation is bedeviled by already having a pension in issue at such a relatively young age. My personal view is that you must consult a local, trusted professional accountant or solicitor well experienced in pension matters. Indeed, there are reputable Independent Financial Advisers well up in these matters, but they are few and far between.

For Fixed Protection you must apply before 5 April 2014.


For Individual Protection you must apply before the end of the 16/17 tax year.


HMRC will enhance the 1.5M limit for any contributions made whilst working overseas.


I do hope I have been of some help guiding you through this maze.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks Keith,


I think probably the kernel in your response was that the LAC applies to ALL pensions and the Fixed Protection will freeze ALL pensions ( I would not be able to continue to contribute to any of them) . I needed to have this confirmed so I could make the correct decision before the April 14 deadline passed.


As I now have time before the Individual Protection deadline to set up my SIPP and research the matter further, I think I will seek further advice from the Forces Pensions Assoc. and SPVA.


One further question you could answer for me if you would:


With my AFPS pot currently at £507,718 for LAC purposes, does the 'pot' grow in line with CPI over my (and its) lifetime in the same manner as the AFPS pension grows inline with CPI? In which case, should I live to be 102 (as my Nanna did) I can see that a "pot" growing @ CPI may well breach the LAC limit over time.


Best regards,


Anne Clarke


I think you are very sensible in your approach. You are quite correct in your view that LAC applies to all pensions, whether they are pots or in issue. Was this not covered in pre-release lectures before you left the service? I did a day with Wills Carroon, at the Union Jack Club in Waterloo of all places, before I took my demob over 20 years ago now, and their advice not to enter an occupational pension scheme at 50, but fund my own, was spot on. It isn't now, of course, but times change. I did a post event appraisal when I finally retired at 65 and found I was 5K pa better off despite funding it myself!

Have a look at HMRC Briefing Note RPSM11102020. This tells you the occasions when your pension funds are checked for LAC limit breaches. I warn you, it's a long read.

My ex Father-in-Law lived to be 103 and only went into care in his last 6 months. He took the Bank of Scotland Pension Fund to the cleaners, an actuarial disaster!

Fixed Protection is a disaster area for those continuing to work in my opinion. If you are just about to retire finally it may be a different matter. Small point about SIPPs to remember is that when you start one you may mop up any unused pension contribution allowance for the preceding 3 years.

Best of luck with the FPS, I've been a life member these 2 decades now. I believe in Life Memberships! They are pretty knowledgeable at the FPS, but with few ex RAF personnel on board, predominantly RN and Army.

Kind regards

bigduckontax and other Tax Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you for your support.

In the early 70s I served for 6 weeks in Epispoki and the Army and the TAC Officers' Messes were adjacent; known respectively as Pongo Hall and TAF's Caff! I once did an overnight at RAF CRANWELL and dined in no less than 3 of your Officers' Messes. The Guard Room at Cranwell is the old railway station, obvious to me who ran the Longmoor Military Railway for 2 years in the 60s!