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For details of the current earnings trigger, qualifying earnings band and NEST annual contributions limit, see Checklist, Current allowances, rates and limits: Auto-enrolment.

Annual allowance

The annual allowance is the maximum amount of contributions a member may make to any registered pension scheme, or the increase in the value of a member's benefits, in a given year. A tax charge will arise on additional contributions or benefits to the extent they exceed the annual allowance.

* Since 2016/17 the annual allowance is £40,000, but will be tapered down to £10,000 for individuals with income of £150,000 or more, subject to certain conditions. 

Lifetime allowance

The standard lifetime allowance is the total amount of pension savings within a registered pension scheme that receive favourable tax treatment. Funds over the lifetime allowance may be held within a registered scheme, but tax charges will arise on the excess. See Practice note, Pensions tax: overview: Lifetime allowance.

Money purchase annual allowance

The money purchase annual allowance is an annual limit on the amount of tax-relieved saving an individual can make in a defined contribution (DC) arrangement under a registered pension scheme if they flexibly access their DC funds on or after 6 April 2015 (for example, by taking an uncrystallised funds pension lump sum or designating a flexi-access drawdown fund). A tax charge will arise on any pension saving in a DC arrangement that exceeds this limit. It was introduced on 6 April 2015. See Practice note, Annual allowance: overview.

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