Relevant Benefit Crystallisation Events were introduced from 6 April 2024 as part of the abolition of the lifetime allowance.  

What is a Relevant Benefit Crystallisation Event?

Pensions legislation specifies the occasions when a Scheme Administrator must check whether a lump sum being paid to a member exceeds that member’s available lump sum allowance or lump sum and death benefit allowance. These occasions are known as relevant benefit crystallisation events. Any lump sum that has been paid prior to the 6 April 2024 is not an RBCE.

RBCEs are lump sum payments defined as follows:

  • ‘relevant lump sums’ – payments made in the individual’s lifetime
  • ‘relevant lump sum death benefits‘– payments made after the member has died

At each RBCE the lump sum payments are assessed against the individual’s available LSA and/or LSDBA to determine what amount of the lump sum may be paid tax-free.

Only lump sum payments are tested against the lump sum allowance (LSA) and lump sum and death benefit allowance (LSDBA) limits. Pension income payments are not tested against these - during the member’s lifetime or following their death.  
The lump sums that are tested against the LSA and LSDBA include:

The lump sum death benefits that are tested against the LSDBA include:

  • Defined Benefit Lump Sum Death Benefits
  • Annuity Protection Lump Sum Death Benefits
  • Pension Protection Lump Sum Death Benefits
  • Drawdown/Flexi-access Drawdown Lump Sum Death Benefits
  • Dependant, Nominee or Successors Flexi-access Drawdown Lump Sum Death Benefits

Lump sum death benefits paid from funds crystallised prior to 6 April 2024 are not tested against the LSDBA.

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