Hundreds of QROPS offshore pensions were deleted from HM Revenue and Customs official list by mistake.
HMRC admitted 432 QROPS from 18 financial jurisdictions were omitted from the list as the result of a ‘technical glitch’, reported iExpats.
The list was published on July 1, 2013 and was still due for updating 24 hours later.
The error has thrown QROPS providers, investors and financial advisers into confusion as HMRC cannot yet confirm how many, if any, schemes on the issued list should have been excluded or suspended.
The issue has also held up any pension transfers from the UK as pension companies cannot confirm who is a recognised QROPS provider and if they make a transfer, they could be liable to a fine if the receiving scheme should not have been on the QROPS list.
The list is published fortnightly by HMRC and includes details of pension schemes worldwide that have self-certified they qualify as offshore pensions according to QROPS rules.
“We’ve spoken to HMRC,” said Lisa Smith of iExpats. “They say the whole thing is a glitch and that they are working to correct the problem by issuing a new QROPS list.
“At the moment we don’t know when that might be, although HMRC suggested their digital department will work over night to try to put the error right.
“We’ve also checked the web site and found the wrong list is still available for download more than 24 hours after being published in error.”
iExpats was the first media site to spot the mistake and contacted HMRC to ask if the missing schemes were removed deliberately or in error.
No response was forthcoming from HMRC until the inquiry was followed up six hours later.
Second QROPS howler
This is the second QROPS list howler by HMRC.
Last year, a website technician reportedly pressed the wrong button and published draft QROPS regulations before they were signed off by the Treasury.
That time, the documents were withdrawn from the web site, but too late to stop providers and the media from downloading copies.
“This is another glitch and we are investigating what happened,” said an HMRC spokesman. “We will publish an updated QROPS list as soon as we can.
“I can’t say when the list will go live, but we are working on the problem and hope to resolve the issues as soon as we can.”