New Zealand ROPS

  • 30% tax-free cash lump sum can be taken at age 55; the rest must provide a pension income for life
  • New Zealand is tax-neural; there is 0% tax in New Zealand on income, growth or death
  • There is no requirement to take retirement benefits at age 75 unlike the UK, so an excellent inheritance planning tool. You can just leave your entire pension pots to your heirs if you want
  • Investments are pooled. This makes them safer as risks are more stringently adhered to
  • New Zealand has a well respected, regulated pensions authority for security of pension monies
  • Pension monies remain in GBP and remain outside the realm of UK inheritance tax (IHT) and death tax as long as you remain tax resident outside the UK

Contact a Pensions Expert Today

Feel free to ask our ROPS advisers any question you want and they will get back to you as soon as possible.


A New Zealand ROPS is a Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme for people who have worked in the UK and want to transfer their UK private pension or final salary pension scheme abroad. Please note, that if you have worked in the public sector, your pension can no longer be transferred abroad.

An NZ ROPS has some advantages over other jurisdictions such as a Malta or Gibraltar ROPS, due to its “tax neutral” status which means if you hold a NZ ROPS and live offshore, effectively you pay zero tax at source on your retirement benefits. Furthermore, New Zealand is known as a “white listed” OECD country and has many Double Taxation Agreements with countries around the world.

Why Transfer to a NZ ROPS?

  • 30% tax-free lump sum allowed if you have lived offshore for 5 years already. This is higher than allowed in the UK
  • 25% tax-free lump sum if you wish to take it before you have been offshore for 5 years
  • You can choose who receives your pension on death. This becomes important if you have a new partner
  • Benefits are paid gross with no tax deducted in New Zealand
  • An NZ ROPS is a Foreign Zero-Rate PIE which means all investment gains allocated to non-NZ resident members will be paid out tax-free
  • Funds must be pooled and discretionary managed. Whilst the investment options aren’t as wide as the options available in Gibraltar and Malta, for the conservative investor, this is an excellent pension and retirement option
  • There is 0% income tax in NZ and 0% tax on death in New Zealand
  • 100% of your pension gets passed on to your chosen beneficiaries on death
  • Investment options: cash, cautious, balanced, growth or adventurous
  • Funds are totally managed on your behalf
  • Funds remain in GBP

If you want to transfer your funds into another currency or wish to choose your investments, we suggest looking into a ROPS in Malta or Gibraltar.

However, for the conservative overseas investor who wants a zero tax environment in NZ in a well established English speaking country with strong regulations and protection with excellent inheritance planning protection, then New Zealand is a great choice.


An NZ NUPS or Non-UK Pension Scheme allows inheritance tax protection from the UK. An NZ is for non-tax relieved funds. A ROPS or QROPS is for transferring out existing pension monies from the UK, whereas a NUPS / QNUPS if for money that is sitting in a bank or in offshore portfolio bonds which could attract a 40% IHT charge on death even though you are a non-UK resident. Why? It is hard to shake UK domicile status. In other words, even though you are tax resident abroad, in most cases, you are still considered UK domicile (e.g. British born), which means you still pay 40% IHT on death on your worldwide assets such as offshore bank accounts, mutual funds, shares, property, etc that is in your name.

In the UK, your estate is taxed at 40% IHT on death above your allowable threshold (currently 325,000 GBP in 2015/16). This was previously know as a Qualified Non-UK Pension Scheme or QNUPS.

  • You are allowed access to 100% of your NUPS if required at age 65 years, or at age 55 years after satisfying the
  • Trustee that the member is retired or in semi-retirement. A statement evidencing retirement or semi-retirement may be required.
  • An ill-health or undue hardship (or other grave circumstances, such as where death is diagnosed to occur within 12 months) facility is available which allows for full or partial early withdrawal (as long as this is within UK HMRC rules). Medical evidence is required proving an inability to work in an occupation consistent with the applicant’s skill and/or training in the case of an ill-health claim, and supporting evidence for an undue hardship claim or for a withdrawal based on grave circumstances.
  • 100% of lump sum is paid out to chosen beneficiaries on death
  • Whilst pension monies remain within the NUPS, it avoids 40% IHT
  • The NUPS / QNUPS must prove the money was clearly earmarked and used as a pension and not for tax avoidance
  • Transfer out of a NUPS / QNUPS to other registered retirement or superannuation schemes or QROPS is allowed at the discretion of the NUPS trustees

Please contact us to find out more about the inheritance tax and retirement planning options in New Zealand for British expats living abroad.