Claiming your state UK pension in France: a step-by-step guide
In principle, it is both possible and perfectly legal to claim your UK pension in France if you are or are becoming a full time resident there, and have pension entitlement owed to you from the UK.
Many British people who move to France every year are those who are looking to make the most of their retirement years. If you are in the same situation, it’s therefore important to know how to draw your pension in France. There are numerous types of pension available in the UK, and many differences between each one, depending on whether it is a state, private or government pension – although all types should be portable to France.
Organising your pension payments when moving to France
Your first step should be to inform the UK Pensions Service in Newcastle about your move. Make sure they have your new address in France – you can do this on the DWP’s website. You will also be able to find information regarding the payment of a state pension for those who wish to move
No matter what pension you receive, all types should be portable to France.
You can have your UK State or Government pension paid directly into your French back account if you wish. However, it is a good idea to remember that this will involve a currency exchange transaction at some point. Alternatively, you may be better off simply having your pension paid into your UK bank account, if you are keeping one open, and then transfer it later.
Be careful of changing exchange rates, as these can cause your pension to lose value. A currency specialist can help you plan how to safeguard your money for regular payments – so you don’t lose out. We recommend Smart Currency Exchange: they’re the UK’s only currency specialist in property and expat life and have over 1,000 5* reviews on Trustpilot. We’ve worked with them for over a decade and have many happy readers who have used them.
Tax on your pension
It is important to consider the tax that will be levied on your UK pension in France. As such, we strongly advise taking the advice of an Independent Financial Advisor and pension expert, who can guide you through this somewhat complex subject, and make sure you receive exactly what you are entitled to without overpaying any tax.
French tax returns
Once you are resident in France, you will have to declare your UK pension on your French tax return. In this case, you should receive a rebate of tax paid in the UK. Bear in mind that it is sometimes better to opt for your pension income to be taxed in France, since the rates of income tax in France are lower than in the UK. We can help put you in touch with our recommended advisors in this area.
The subject of moving pensions overseas can be a complex one and also subject to market and regulatory change.
In the case of a private pension, which can be drawn earlier than state pensions, it is best to take advice from your pension provider. They should be willing and able to pay it into your French account if desired, although the same considerations regarding currency exchange still apply. We would also recommend speaking to an expert Independent Financial Advisor about your personal circumstances – we can put you in touch with a recommended advisor today.