A Small Self Administered Scheme (SSAS) is a flexible arrangement which allows the holder a significant level of control over their retirement fund. There are a number of benefits to holding a SSAS:
- They facilitate funding for retirement.
- They can significantly reduce both corporate and personal tax rates.
- They allow the holder greater flexibility with regard to making investments in a tax-free environment. Almost any investment can be made within these tax efficient structures subject to Revenue guidelines.
- They enable the holder to extract funds from a company without any income tax liability.
- They allow for significantly greater levels of pension contributions than personal pension structures as they can facilitate both personal and company contributions.
- They allow for potential transfer of assets to next of kin.
A SSAS has a number of tax benefits. Contributions made to the SSAS enjoy personal and/or corporation tax relief. Returns from the investments held within the trust are exempt from income tax, capital gains tax and DIRT. Also, a portion of the fund (25%) may be taken as a tax free lump sum at retirement.
There is no set amount that a holder has to contribute to a SSAS annually and few rules with regard to the frequency of these contributions. There are, however, some limitations on the amount that the holder can contribute personally or their employer can contribute on their behalf. These limitations vary depending on the individual’s age, number of year’s service, salary and whether the holder has any existing pension benefits.
In many cases, the SSAS is the best way for proprietary directors to fund for their future as it is the most tax efficient way to transfer company profits into personal capital. A SSAS can be set up for key employees and is an extremely tax efficient way to reward valued staff.
Investing with a SSAS
Once a SSAS has been set up, and has received Revenue Approval, the holder can then begin investing. There is a wide variety of investment options available to a SSAS and borrowing can also be facilitated within the fund. There are some restrictions on the investments that the fund can make, specifically the following:
- Self-investing is not allowed – investments have to be at arm’s length, so, for example, the holder can’t use the pension fund to purchase a property for their own use. However, the fund can purchase an investment property which can be rented (free from tax) to an unrelated party.
- Investing in pride in possession articles is prohibited such as vintage cars or fine wines.