Could You Be Overlooking Money Meant for You?

Pension savers have left £1.3 billion in tax relief unclaimed in just five years

Claiming Your Share from the £1.3 Billion Unclaimed Pension Tax Relief

Did you know? The latest studies reveal that high-earning taxpayers in the UK have failed to claim a staggering amount of pension tax relief, amounting to £1.3 billion over a mere span of five years. Imagine the significant boost this could give to your retirement savings!

Pension Tax Relief

What’s the Hype About Pension Tax Relief?

Well, it’s the government’s way of saying, “We support your retirement plans.” By providing a bonus on your pension contributions, they’re incentivising you to save more for your golden years. The bonus you receive is directly proportional to your income, your contribution, and the pension scheme you’re enrolled in. The two primary channels to get this bonus are ‘relief at source’ and ‘net pay’. Dive deeper into the pension nuances with our guide on pension advice.

Supercharge Your Retirement Kitty

Boost your retirement savings: To navigate the intricacies of pension tax relief, it’s wise to rope in professional qualified advice. With the right guidance, you might just find yourself eligible for a tax relief of up to 45% on your pension contributions. For those in the higher or additional rate tax brackets, it’s imperative to periodically review your pension contributions. This ensures you’re not missing out on any potential benefits, especially given the variable income rates across the UK.

Why is There So Much Unclaimed Tax Relief?

Tax benefits upfront: The crux of the matter is the manual claim process. Depending on the type of pension scheme and its structure, the claiming process can differ. For instance, if you’re under the ‘net pay’ scheme, your pension contributions are tax-relieved right from the get-go. However, those under the ‘relief at source’ scheme, like personal pension plans or certain workplace pension plans, need to be more proactive. While the basic rate tax relief is automatic, claiming the additional relief requires some legwork. This lack of awareness is the primary reason why a whopping £1.3 billion remains unclaimed. For more insights, consider our free pension tracing service.

Claiming Your Due: A Quick Guide

Unclaimed tax relief: Here’s a step-by-step approach for those under the ‘relief at source’ arrangement:

  • Determine Your Pension Setup: Understand your pension scheme. If you’re in ‘net pay’, you’re sorted. Otherwise, read on.
  • File a Self-Assessment Tax Return: You can either fill an online tax return by the 31st of January or reach out to the government directly.
  • Remember the Deadlines: Going old-school with a paper return? The deadline is 31st October. Mark your calendar!
  • Receiving Your Tax Relief: Post-claim, you can either expect a year-end rebate or a tax code tweak, based on your circumstances.

Moreover, if you’ve not been claiming your full pension contribution allowance for the past three years, there’s more good news. You can amalgamate this unclaimed relief for a sizable pension contribution this year. Keeping the recent hike in the annual pension allowance post the Spring budget in mind, it’s an opportunity worth capitalising on.


[1] Standard Life – Millions unclaimed pension tax relief – published 10/07/23.


Remember, pensions are a long game. They’re typically inaccessible until 55 or 57 from April 2028 (with specific exceptions). Like any investment, the value can swing both ways, impacting your eventual pension benefits. External factors, like interest rates at the time of withdrawal, can influence your pension income. Your location within the UK and your personal circumstances will dictate your tax liabilities. Stay informed, as laws and tax rules are ever-evolving.

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