Please note that the following Frequently Asked Questions apply to Members of Defined Contribution arrangements. If you are a Member of a Defined Benefit arrangement please contact the Administration with any queries.

Can I get an up to date value of my Retirement Savings Account?

CERS provides you with secure online access to the details of your Retirement Savings. You can view a daily updated value of your accounts.

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Every year we will automatically provide you with an update on your Retirement Savings Account(s) including an estimated projection of the value of your pension at normal retirement age.

The up to date price for each of our investment funds can be found on the website  please click here >

How can I top up my Pension?

Additional Voluntary Contributions, or AVCs as they are more commonly known, are extra contributions you can make to your Retirement Savings Account to top up the value available to you on retirement.

The benefits of making AVCs are:

  • Maximise your potential tax-free lump sum at retirement.
  • Provide a higher pension income when you retire.
  • Tax Relief on contributions paid.
  • Tax Free Investment Growth.

 

Your AVCs (together with any regular pension contributions) are payable up to the following limits:

Under age 30 15% of Remuneration
Age 30 to 39 20% of Remuneration
Age 40 to 49 25% of Remuneration
Age 50 to 54 30% of Remuneration
Age 55 to 59 35% of Remuneration
Age 60 and over 40% of Remuneration

"Remuneration" is defined as all income assessable under schedule E from this employment (including benefit in kind and the value of shares provided under a Revenue approved share purchase plan) and is currently subject to a maximum of €115,000.

Can I get tax relief on my pension contributions?

The government provides support for pensions saving through tax relief. Employers will get Corporation tax relief and employees can claim tax relief at source currently at your highest rate of income tax. For example:

Amount Contributed Reduction in Income Tax Take Home Pay
 €100.00  20%  €80.00
 €100.00  40% *  €60.00

There are no tax implications to Employees on Employer contributions Investment growth is tax free during the course of your retirement savings.

Is there a limit on how much I can have in my Retirement Savings Account?

The lifetime pension limit is the maximum total benefit which an individual may receive from all tax approved pension arrangements (including the pension plans of previous employers).  Currently, the amount of the lifetime limit is €2 million.

In the 2013 Budget, the Government introduced a cap in respect of pension schemes that deliver an annual pension in excess of €60,000 per annum.  This took effect from the 1st January 2014.  

Can I transfer a previous benefit into this Scheme?

CERS can accept transfers from similarly approved pension arrangements. There is no entry charge on transfer values received by CERS. Please contact the administration for further details.

Where is my money invested?

The CERS Standard Lifestyling Strategy is currently the default investment choice for CERS. In other words all contributions (including AVCs) are invested in the CERS Standard Lifestyling Strategy unless a written instruction has been received by CERS from you instructing that your Retirement Savings should be moved to one or more of the other investment choices.

CERS has a wide range of investment funds available, click here for more details.

How do I switch between investment funds?

If you decide that you no longer want be invested in the Default Strategy, click here for more details of the choices currently available to you.

You can make 4 free fund switches per year. A charge of €50 will apply for each subsequent switch in that year.

In order to switch your fund we will require a clear written instruction from you detailing the switch. Please click here to download a switch form. This form can either be emailed or posted back to the administration of CERS.

Switch instructions are not effective or accepted by the Administration of CERS until confirmation of receipt of those instructions has been issued by CERS. Members are advised to contact the Administration regarding any investment instruction which has not been acknowledged as neither the Trustee, the Scheme nor the Administration accept responsibility for not processing instructions that for whatever reason have not been confirmed as set out above.

The Trustee recommend that members should take independent investment advice when considering their investment choice.

Who decides the asset split of each fund?

The Trustee upon receipt of advice from their actuarial and investment advisors.

 

Is my CERS pension protected?

Yes. All retirement savings are totally separate from the assets of your employer and the Pension Administration Company. We offer a wide range of Investment Choices including a secure Cash Fund. Click here for more information.

What happens if I leave or change jobs?

If you leave your job you will cease to be an active member of CERS and your contributions will stop. On leaving service you will be notified of the options available to you which for members with more than 2 years service are as follows:

  • Your Retirement Savings Account(s) may remain invested with CERS. If you have registered for online access this remains available to you. You continue to have investment choices.
  • As an alternative to leaving your Retirement Savings Account(s) with CERS you may take a transfer payment of your retirement savings accounts to another arrangement approved by the Revenue Commissioners for this purpose.

 

If your new Employer operates within the construction and related industries you may be able to continue saving for your retirement with CERS. Please contact the administration for further details.

For members with less than 2 years pensionable service you may not be entitled to the value of your Employer contributions. Please refer to your member booklet for further details.

Can I take a refund of contributions?

Revenue rules currently state that you can only take a refund of the value of your own personal contributions less 20% tax if you have been a member of your Employers pension arrangement for less than 2 years at your date of leaving (including transferred in service). This benefit can only be paid when you leave employment.

Can I transfer my pension out?

Upon leaving service with your employer you may take a transfer payment of your benefit entitlement from your Retirement Savings Account(s) to another occupational pension scheme, Buy out Bond or PRSA (subject to certain conditions).

Can I transfer overseas?

Possibly. You will need to get the receiving scheme to confirm in writing that the pension benefits provided will be similar to the benefits provided by the arrangement that you are transferring from and that it is approved by an appropriate regulatory authority for the country concerned. Please contact CERS for more information.

What happens to my Retirement Savings Account(s) if I die?

In the event of your death, as an active member of CERS, the value of your Retirement Savings Account(s) will be become payable to your beneficiaries.  There may be an additional lump sum and spouses pension payable.  Please refer to your member booklet.  Under the Trust, the Trustee have absolute discretion as to who a Death Benefit is payable.

Subject to Revenue limits, part of the benefit (approximately four times your salary) could be payable as a lump sum. The balance (if any) would be payable in the form of pension(s) to your Beneficiaries. You may if you wish fill out the Nomination Form click here) to assist the Trustee in exercising this discretion. The Nomination Form would not however be binding on the Trustee.

When can I retire?

Normal retirement age is any time between the ages of 60 and 70.  Please refer to your booklet for the normal retirement age of your Employers sponsored arrangement.  It may be possible to take early retirement at any time from the age of 50. If you are a Proprietary Director and you wish to retire before age 60, it will be necessary to sever your connections with the Company before the Revenue will allow you to take the early retirement benefits. 

Can I take a lump sum?

On retirement, members may currently receive a retirement lump sum of up to 1.5 times annual earnings (assuming they are retiring at their normal retirement age having completed at least 20 years’ service with their employer).  For this purpose, annual earnings averaged over any 3 consecutive years in the last 13 years prior to retirement may be taken into account.  This maximum lump sum is inclusive of any lump sums which a member receives from other pension arrangements.

Currently lump sums are tax free up to €200,000.  Lump sums between €200,000 and €575,000 will be taxed at the basic rate (currently 20%) and lump sums in excess of €575,000 will be taxed at an individual’s marginal rates.

Can I ARF (Approved Retirement Fund)?

The ARF facility has now been extended to all members of DC arrangements. This means that DC members (who are not proprietary directors) will no longer be obliged to buy annuities on retirement. However, members will only be able to invest in an ARF if they have a guaranteed pension income for life of a least €12,700 per annum (including the State Pension).

If a member does not satisfy this income requirement then an amount of €63,500 must first be invested in an Approved Minimum Retirement Fund (where withdrawal of the capital originally invested is not permitted until age 75) and only the balance may be transferred to an ARF.

The Trustee recommends that members should take independent financial advice when considering their options at retirement.    The CERS Trustee preferred Independent Financial Adviser is Milestone Advisory DAC.  You can contact them or your own independent financial adviser to assist you to review your options at retirement.  You can contact Milestone Advisory DAC at Canal House, Canal Road, Dublin 6, at   info@milestoneadvisory.ie   or call them on 01 4068020. Their website is   www.milestoneadvisory.ie .

Will I be taxed on my pension?

All pensions are subject to income tax deduction on the PAYE basis and the Universal Social Charge. When you decide to retire, you will require a Certificate of Tax Credits in respect of pension payments. The appropriate Certificate is available from your local tax office. Please contact the administration for a list of contact details of the various local tax offices.

Emergency tax deduction procedures will be applied to your initial pension payments and will continue to be applied until we receive a Certificate of Tax Credits for you from the Tax office.

It may be of assistance to note that the Registered Employer’s Number of the Pension Scheme is 0065485S.

Does the Scheme allow early retirement on Serious Ill-Health?

If you have to cease working due to serious ill-health you can usually take your retirement benefits as soon as that happens. However, if you haven’t been contributing to your pension plan for long then the fund is likely to be small and the benefits low. Your Employer may have a separate Income Protection Scheme in place. Please contact CERS if you have any queries.

The Pension Levy

What was the Pension Levy?

It was an annual tax imposed on the market value of your pension in each of the years 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. It applied to all pension policies..

Who introduced it and why?

The Government introduced the levy as they want to raise approximately €470 million each year to fund a jobs initiative that was announced in May 2011.

How was the levy calculated?

The levy was based on the market value of your Retirement Savings Account on the 30th June each year from 2011 to 2014. The levy calculation was based on the Transfer Value of your pension fund at that date.

How was the levy deducted?

  • Defined Benefit – the cost was deducted from the overall value of the Scheme
  • Defined Contribution – the cost was deducted from Retirement Savings Account
  • Pensioner – the cost was deducted from your monthly payment

 

What happens if I have a problem or complaint?

If you want to make a complaint, you should first contact the Administration Team on 01 407 1430 or email info@cers.ie. We will try to resolve the matter for you as quickly as possible.

If you are not satisfied with the response then you or someone acting on your behalf can bring a complaint or dispute to the Trustee of the Scheme. You must provide full written details of the complaint or dispute together with supporting information. A note setting out the details the Trustee require in regard to your complaint or dispute is available from the CERS Administration Team, Canal House, Canal Road, Dublin 6 or phone 01 407 1430.

Your complaint will be investigated. Typically this stage will involve making enquiries of relevant persons and this may include seeking clarification from you about the complaint. It may also be necessary for the Trustee to obtain advice from the Scheme’s expert advisers.

Following the investigation, the Trustee will consider your complaint and reach a decision. You will receive a response from the Trustee summarising their decision on the complaint within three months of the Trustee receiving the full details of your complaint (including all the supporting documents).

If you are not satisfied with the Trustee decision, then provided you have completed the previous steps outlined above, you may be able to ask the Pensions Ombudsman to investigate your complaint. A standard form must be used and this is available from the Pensions Ombudsman’s office at 36 Upper Mount Street, Dublin 2 (or his website www.pensionsombudsman.ie). There is no charge for the Ombudsman’s services.


What if I have any other questions?

If you have any further questions please contact the Administration team on 01 407 1430 or email info@cers.ie




Frequently Asked Questions

For a list of our most commonly asked questions, visit our FAQs

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