Citizens in Britain frequently have an issue with finding the right investment for their retirement funds. This is especially true for those individuals who move out of the country. When they finally get their pensions, the money is taxed and it is always delivered in British pounds. Unfortunately, the pound is not the currency of choice, especially when living outside of the country. This has much to do with the fact that the British pound may not be worth the currency of the country the expatriate is living in.

As for QROPS is, it is an investment plan for British expatriates that is a relatively new option. It wasn't put in force until 2006 because it had been realized that those who had moved out of the country were not getting everything due to them because of all of the formalities surrounding their pension plans and other retirement investments.

How QROPS works

QROPS regulations allow expatriates to move their money from their UK pensions to QROPS. However, the QROPS account has to be recognized by the government for it to work. This means that the government has to say, "This is a qualified plan."

How this benefits the expatriate is through the fact that a QROPS account is subjected to fewer taxes, allows unrestricted access to the money, and will distribute the money in a better currency.

Who can apply?

QROPS is open to British citizens living abroad for long periods of time. Those who have pensions in the UK, but are citizens within other countries are also allowed to transfer their money to QROPS. The only stipulation is that they no longer live in the UK. In other words, anyone who has worked in the UK and gained a pension can apply for QROPS even if they are not a citizen in Britain. This is important because a person who has earned the money has every right to claim it no matter what country they are from. The money has been earned in Britain, so Britain must make sure the money is paid out accordingly.

Fortunately, there are no minimum amounts that can be transferred from a pension plan from QROPS. The only way that there would be is if QROPS sets minimum amounts themselves. However, those with small pensions may find that the cost of transferring money and maintaining the account is not worth it.

You also have to make sure that you've been out of the UK for 5 tax years before you can utilize QROPS. This is actually something that deters some people from moving out of the country, especially when moving away would mean they would need that money. Even a temporary move could cost them dearly.

Accessing the money

When accessing the money, the money can be accessed without having to pay tax if the account is structured correctly.

QROPS is very beneficial in that an individual who has moved out of the country is able to access their funds. They money is available in a new currency and the individual can access it before they reach retirement age. Being that the money can be accessed without having to pay UK taxes, an individual is able to access their complete fund instead of just part of it. The taxes for the country where the fund resides must still be paid, but it also depends on what country you are in. Some countries do not really have anything regarding taxes on QROPS, so you may not have to worry about any taxes at all.

So if you have moved out of the UK or are thinking of doing so, know that QROPS is an option for you so that you can ensure you have access to the pension plans you worked so hard for.