Skip to content

Pensions: what's new this week - 5 June 2023

Welcome to your weekly update from the Allen & Overy Pensions team, covering all the latest legal and regulatory developments in the world of workplace pensions.

This week we cover topics including: HMRC Pension Schemes Newsletter; Tribunal: fines for AE non-compliance upheld.

HMRC Pension Schemes Newsletter

HMRC’s latest newsletter (no.150) includes a reminder of the 5 July 2023 deadline for submitting the 2022/23 annual return for relief at source, plus further details on the migration process to the Managing Pension Schemes service.

Read more.

Tribunal: fines for AE non-compliance upheld

In a series of cases over recent years, the First-tier Tribunal has upheld fixed penalty notices issued by the Pensions Regulator (TPR) to employers which have failed to meet auto-enrolment or re-enrolment requirements.

In most of the cases to date, the Tribunal has held that there was no reasonable excuse for non-compliance. In particular, TPR does not have to prove that documents were delivered: there is a legislative presumption that, if a document has been sent to a proper address, it has been received. If there is strong evidence to the contrary, the presumption can be displaced, but it is rare for this to happen (read more about a case where the presumption was displaced because the employer’s registered address was presented confusingly on the Companies House website). Employers are under an obligation to comply with the auto-enrolment requirements, and even if they do not receive reminder letters from TPR, they are not relieved of that duty.

Two cases reported this week follow the same pattern. In one case, the employer (Finishing Touches Cheltenham) argued that it had instructed an accountant to deal with all pensions correspondence but the accountant had failed to do so. The Tribunal did not accept that this relieved the employer of its responsibilities, although it might have a remedy against the accountant. In the second case (My Warehouse), the employer had no evidence to back up its suggestion that the compliance notice might have been delivered to a company with a similar name situated next to its own warehouse, and it had received the penalty notice (sent to the same address).

Read the cases: Finishing Touches Cheltenham and My Warehouse.