Blevins Franks seminars

I seem to have inadvertently got myself on to their mailing list and they emailed me today, advertising seminars to discuss inter alia « What are the latest implications in France for UK private pensions »?
I’m not going to the seminar because there aren’t any in our neck of the woods but any idea what developments they’re referring to?

Most likely marketing spin in their usual style. As for facts, it seems some people with pensions from abroad or whilst working abroad can take 2x the usual 25% tax free cash from them.
I am a bit light on detail but its the only thing I have heard recently.

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Uk gov did an update on Fri, no idea if anything’ changed as haven’t read it!

25 January 2024
Updated guidance for UK nationals living in the EEA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

“25 January 2024
Updated guidance for UK nationals living in the EEA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.”

I’ve read it to mean that the latest amendments don’t apply to France… but only to Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway

Does anyone have any other ideas… ???

OK, thanks. I’ll investigate later.
Quite frankly, my colleagues have been having so many problems with the local tax office recently that I’ve given up on any idea of asking them to sign a DT form in English.
Think I’ll leave our UK pensions untouched until we’re back resident there.

Standard wording that means EEA plus x and Y

sounds daft to me… as the 3 countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) are actually IN the EEA… which is why I think it just relates to them…
Ah well… yet another mystery… sent to try us… :upside_down_face: :joy:

If you look at the actual text it says

“This guidance explains the rights of UK nationals in the EU, the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland to benefits and pensions.”

what I looked at was the latest amendment… made this January. 2024… the previous update was November 2021



There aren’t any developments recently… any pension reform in the UK is generally announced in the spring budget (sometimes autumn budget) and takes effect straight away from the following tax year. We have seen this with pensions A day 2006, pension flexibility 2015 and new state pension 2016 all in the spring budget.

Blevins are a good company though and having more knowledge and listening to a seminar would only help.

In terms of changes coming up as they mention in their email… I also got it through an email for the magazine The Connexion.

Last year Jeremy Hunt removed the life time allowance and it’s likely if Labour are elected this would come back in so there is a window if you have a larger pension (over £1million or will grow to this level or above before crystallisation) to transfer it out of the Uk. Transfer out of the UK is a benefit crystallization event and excess over the life time allowance is charged at 25%… currently there is no charge. So a good bit of planning but it wouldn’t impact most people.

have recently done a pensions podcast with the survive France team… feel free to take a listen!


Thanks Dave. I will certainly listen to your podcast tonight when I come back from cycling and am peeling the spuds.
We have small personal pensions dating from the 80s and suddenly our selected retirement dates are almost upon us.
So we have to decide whether to cash them in or reinvest them. Aegon will switch them to a pretty crappy cash fund on the selected retirement date. After that, we can move them to another fund of our choice.

I’ve thought about this quite a bit.
The pots are by no means huge and right now we don’t need the money.
I really do not trust the Strasbourg tax office to play ball and sign the DT form. In which case, we would be in a bit of a mess because we would already have paid emergency tax to HMRC. And would have no way to recover it.
And we would also have alerted the French tax office to the payout so they would be expecting us to declare it in next year’s return so that they could tax it too.

I did think of going to see the tax office in advance to sound them out about whether they would sign the DT form, were someone to present them with one. But again, based on their recent behaviour towards colleagues, I’m afraid I just don’t trust them 1. to know the correct procedure and 2. not to get excited about the fact we have pension pots they didn’t know about until now.

Then there’s all the hassle with getting a refund from HMRC, mention of which has been made on this forum.

Right. I’m off for a bike ride in the Schwarzwald to clear my head.

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I wonder if you have considered presenting them with the previous version of the form, which is bilingual in English and French? It was used until Feb 2020 from memory (when the current English only version appeared). The bilingual form would hopefully make it clear to any suspicious, sceptical Impôts person what it is they are being asked to sign up to. I’ve tried to track down the previous version by following the links to it on various posts on this forum but the links unfortunately no longer work. However there are bound to be one or two people on this forum who have kept soft copies of that form, and from memory no issues have arisen with that version of the form either with the Impôts or HMRC.

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Hi George
Yes, I looked for that French version of the form, to no avail.
The thought of presenting them with a form in English is toe-curlingly embarrassing. It just seems so rude.

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Hi, The tax offices are obliged to sign the DT individual and they should be familiar with it. It’s just confirming to the Uk that you are a French fiscal resident so they can allocate you an NT Tax code.

You don’t need to declare that you have pensions in France until you access them.

In terms of the right thing to do for access will depend on alot of different factors… how these pensions fit into retirement, what age you are and what other assets you plan to use if and when you aren’t earning any more.

You can claim any tax paid from the UK.

Maybe have a listen to the podcast. I’d be happy to set up a call to talk you through your circumstances and options available… you may not access the pensions and leave them to pay out on death. You might take the whole lot as one lump sum… buy an annuity or just flexi access… lots of things to consider

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Thanks Dave. I WILL listen to the podcast when I get a chance. Promise.

As regards taking the pension as a single lump sum, I think I’ve worked out what the procedure is. It’s the gap between what’s supposed to happen and what actually happens that concerns me!

How many people have you spoken to who have asked their tax office to sign the DT form since the English-only version was introduced? And of those, how many had no problems?

Strasbourg is no backwater. You’d expect the tax office here to be well used to dealing with bilateral arrangements with other countries. And yet they’re not. You get a different answer depending on who you speak to.
They recently launched a crackdown on frontaliers and have now spread the net to include retired staff of the international organisations. Which is fine. Absolutely no reason why someone who is using the Sécu shouldn’t be paying CRDS/CSG on their pension. The problem is that many of these individuals went to the tax office when they retired and asked for guidance on how to declare their international org pension and were advised to declare them as French. Which they duly did. Only to receive letters months later, reprimanding them for not declaring the pensions correctly (as foreign source), and demanding 3 years’ back payments and fines.

Some of the same ex colleagues can’t get appointments with the Prefecture to get a WARP. Even though the French foreign ministry has issued a note verbale confirming that they’re entitled because they were unable to get one earlier as they held the titre de séjour spécial.
It’s not supposed to be this way and yet it is.
And it isn’t always clear to foreigners in these situations who they should complain to. Or indeed whether complaining is a good idea.

Things used to work pretty well here in Strasbourg. But I’m afraid my faith in French institutions has taken a bit of a knock.

Hi, I’ve had a client only a month ago get the form signed and HMRC processed it within a month.

To be honest this is no indication, I have had clients in different regions ask the same questions and get different answers. There is a large element of interpretation in a lot of the rules and depending on who you speak to that day will depend on the answer.

I’ve seen clients paying tax on UK property income, I’ve had clients being charged tax and social charges on assurance vie withdrawals as the whole sum is gain and all sorts of other scenarios.

There are lots of very good local offices and some great people working in them but the levels of consistency of service and quality of information does vary.

You really have to do your homework or pay for the advice… but then I’ve seen some questionable advice from accountants.

I would advise to conduct enquiries through your online portal so there are audit trails if you are concerned.

You can send the DT form on this and include written information in French to support. When something is filed through the system in writing I feel they spend more time making sure what they send back is correct.

I read a very good thread on here the other day about taking the lump sum through one pension and paying the 7.5% tax. The gent that had looked into how to do it had really done his research and provided better information than I’ve seen from accountants. That’s worth a read I even learnt a few extra snippets! I’m not a tax advisor but must have a good understanding to be able to identify opportunities and liabilities when they occur. This thread was seriously impressive.

Would that be George? I’m planning to marry him in my next life.


Good idea to communicate through the portal.

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I’m not sure, can’t find it now… still learning the ropes on the site. But it was a long thread about the lump sum from pensions and very very good! Good luck! Remember in France we always start with a no and work our way back from there… so never let the first no put you off :rofl: