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Wealthy pension savers set to boost contributions ahead of tax relief caps

The next 18 months could see wealthy savers boosting their pension pots in a bid to maximise their annual tax-free contributions before new rules come into force in 2014.

Pensions experts have argued that savvy savers may act swiftly to take advantage of the £50,000 limit, before this is lowered to £40,000 in April 2014, with pension contributions soaring by anything up to £200,000 during the 2013/14 financial year.

Savers are permitted to carry forward 'unused' tax-free allowances from the previous three years. As a result someone who has not made use of tax relief at all in the past three years would be able to contribute a maximum of £200,000 prior to the change to £40,000.

Simon Laight, partner at international law firm Pinsent Masons, said: “Rather than put off saving until the economy improves, or when school fees are out of the way, more affluent private savers will realise that the tax system will no longer allow them to catch up later and will find a way to put more away now.

“The most affluent savers, the high net worth individuals who will be most hit by the change in lifetime allowance, have already changed their savings habits when the annual allowance was cut from £255,000 to £50,000 a few years ago.”

Joanne Segars, chief executive of the National Association of Pension Funds, recently accused Chancellor George Osborne of “beating many middle class savers with a stick” as a result of the changes, with 160,000 a year set to be impacted by the cap.

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