Finance Act, 1972

Conditions for approval of schemes and discretionary approval.

15.—(1) Subject as hereinafter provided, the Commissioners shall approve any retirement benefits scheme for the purposes of this Chapter if it satisfies all of the prescribed conditions, that is to say the conditions set out in subsection (2), and the conditions as respects benefits set out in subsection (3).

(2) The said conditions are—

(a) that the scheme is bona fide established for the sole purpose of providing relevant benefits in respect of service as an employee, being benefits payable to, or to the widow, children or dependants or personal representatives of, the employee,

(b) that the scheme is recognised by the employer and employees to whom it relates, and that every employee who is, or has a right to be, a member of the scheme has been given written particulars of all essential features of the scheme which concern him,

(c) that there is a person resident in the State who will be responsible for the discharge of all duties imposed on the administrator of the scheme under this Chapter,

(d) that the employer is a contributor to the scheme,

(e) that the scheme is established in connection with some trade or undertaking carried on in the State by a person resident in the State,

(f) that, where the employer is a company, no service of a person, in whatever capacity, rendered by him while he is a proprietary director or a proprietary employee of the company is taken into account for any of the purposes of the scheme,

(g) that no amount can be paid, whether during the subsistence of the scheme or later, by way of repayment of an employee's contributions under the scheme.

(3) The said conditions as respects benefits are—

(a) that any benefit for an employee is a pension on retirement at a specified age not earlier than 60 (or, if the employee is a woman, 55) and not later than 70, or on earlier retirement through incapacity, which does not exceed one-sixtieth of the employee's final remuneration for each year of service up to a maximum of 40,

(b) that any pension for any widow of an employee who dies before retirement shall be a pension payable on his death of an amount that does not exceed two-thirds of any pension or pensions which, consonant with the condition in paragraph (a), could have been provided for the employee on retirement on attaining the specified age, if he had continued to serve until he attained that age at an annual rate of remuneration equal to his final remuneration,

(c) that any lump sums provided for any widow, children, dependants or personal representatives of an employee who dies before retirement shall not exceed, in the aggregate, four times the employee's final remuneration,

(d) that any benefit for any widow of an employee payable on his death after retirement is a pension such that the amount payable to the widow does not exceed two-thirds of any pension or pensions payable to the employee,

(e) that any pensions for the children or dependants of an employee who dies before retirement or on his death after retirement shall not exceed, in the aggregate, one-half of the pension specified in paragraph (b) or (d) as the case may be,

(f) that no pension is capable in whole or in part of surrender, commutation or assignment except so far as the scheme allows an employee on retirement to obtain, by commutation of his pension, a lump sum or sums not exceeding in all three-eightieths of his final remuneration for each year of service up to a maximum of 40,

(g) that no other benefits are payable under the scheme.

(4) The Commissioners may, if they think fit, having regard to the facts of a particular case, and subject to such conditions, if any, as they think proper to attach to the approval, approve a retirement benefits scheme for the purposes of this Chapter notwithstanding that it does not satisfy one or more of the prescribed conditions. The Commissioners may in particular approve by virtue of this subsection a scheme—

(a) which exceeds the limits imposed by the prescribed conditions as respects benefits for less than forty years' service, or

(b) which allows benefits to be payable on retirement within ten years of the specified age or on earlier incapacity, or

(c) which provides for the return in certain contingencies of employees' contributions and payment of interest (if any) on the contributions, or

(d) which relates to a trade or undertaking carried on only partly in the State and by a person not resident in the State.

In applying this subsection to an existing scheme the Commissioners shall exercise their discretion, in such cases as appear to them appropriate, so as—

(i) to preserve benefits earned or rights arising out of service before approval under this Chapter or before the commencement of section 18, whichever is the earlier, and

(ii) to preserve any rights to death-in-service benefits conferred by rules of the scheme in force on the 19th day of April, 1972.

(5) If in the opinion of the Commissioners the facts concerning any scheme or its administration cease to warrant the continuance of their approval of the scheme, they may at any time by notice in writing to the administrator withdraw their approval on such grounds, and from such date, as may be specified in the notice.

(6) Where an alteration has been made in a retirement benefits scheme, no approval given as regards the scheme before the alteration shall apply after the date of the alteration unless the alteration has been approved by the Commissioners.

(7) For the purpose of determining whether a retirement benefits scheme, so far as it relates to a particular class or description of employees, satisfies or continues to satisfy the prescribed conditions, that scheme shall be considered in conjunction with any other retirement benefits scheme or schemes relating to employees of that class or description, and, if those conditions are satisfied in the case of both or all of those schemes taken together, they shall be taken to be satisfied in the case of each of them but otherwise those conditions shall be taken to be satisfied in the case of none of them.

(8) No approval shall be given as respects any period before the 6th day of April, 1972.