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SSAS explained

A Small Self-Administered Scheme (SSAS) is a type of defined contribution pension scheme which an employer can run for no more than 11 members. The primary aim of a SSAS is to provide an income for its members in retirement. However, the additional flexibility means they can be a useful and effective tax planning vehicle for business owners.

Control over investments

SSASs have wider investment powers than more traditional pension schemes. For example, a SSAS can own the property from which your business operates. Under certain circumstances, it can also lend money back to your business or buy shares in it.


Contributions made by your company (also known as the sponsoring employer) will usually receive Corporation Tax relief. Personal contributions can also be made, which may be eligible for tax relief through the self-assessment system. Furthermore, with the exception of dividend income, your SSAS will not pay Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax on any income it receives or on the growth of the assets it holds.

Property purchase

On its own or jointly, a SSAS can buy commercial property and lease it back to the sponsoring employer or a third party. A SSAS can also borrow money to help fund the purchase. It will pay no tax on the income it receives or on the growth in the value of the property.

Pension consolidation

As well as contributions, a SSAS can receive transfers in from other pension schemes. You should think carefully though before transferring existing pensions into a SSAS. It is important that you get regulated financial advice to ensure that you do not lose any entitlements. This is especially important if you have a Final Salary Pension Scheme (often referred to as a defined benefit scheme).

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