Pension top ups and tax benefits explained

Did you know you can top up your pension and benefit from tax relief in the process? Planning for your future has never been more important. This article was first published on

You have a pension! Congratulations, that’s half the battle. Although it may seem like you have everything sorted, it’s always a good time to start looking at ways to maximise the pay-off for all your hard work and savings.

The basic idea of saving into a pension is a simple one, but it’s important to also think about topping up your pension and upgrading with Zurich is a good place to start.

Making extra contributions comes with a number of benefits, but don’t worry if you don’t know what they are… that’s what we’re here for!

Pension upgrades

Making extra contributions into your pensions comes with a number of benefits. We caught up with Senior Financial Planner with Zurich, Marie Kirwan, who talked us through the overall impact it can have.

“Money paid into your pension qualifies for tax relief and as your pension is invested and growing over time any growth on your pension is also tax free and these combined makes your pension a very powerful means to reaching your retirement income goal. The more you put away while working, the more comfortable you will be when it comes to retirement.”   

Lump sum and pensions

It’s always a good time when you happen upon a lump sum of cash, a good thing to note is that if you do come into some extra money at any stage of your life, one of the best places to invest it is into your pension, as Marie explains.

“A lump sum payment into your pension is also known as a single premium pension. If you come into some extra money one of the best places to invest it is into your pension. If you are an employee and pay into a pension scheme and saved less than the annual threshold, the end of the financial year is a good time to make a lump sum pension contribution.”

Tax relief and pensions

Knowing whether or not you apply for tax relief can be tricky. In Ireland, when your income is over a certain level the government start to take tax from your earnings. If you put money into your pension it qualifies for tax relief. This means that some of the money that would have gone to the government as tax now goes into your pension. Marie explains that a pension is therefore a great way to reduce your tax liability and boost your retirement income:

“Tax relief on your pension is based on the rate of income tax that you pay, this will be 40% for a higher rate taxpayer or 20% for a standard rate taxpayer. For example, putting €200 into a regular savings policy will cost you €200 but putting the same amount into a pension will cost you €160 if you are a standard rate taxpayer or €120 if you are a higher rate taxpayer.”

It’s important to not forget about your pension, even if it’s already set up. Keeping on top of your pension is a crucial component to being able to live the way you want to when you retire. Let’s face it, we’ll have worked hard enough by then. 

The information contained herein is based on Zurich Life’s understanding of current Revenue practice as at 1st December 2023 and may change in the future. 


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About: Pensions

Taking a small action today and speaking to Zurich or a financial broker could have a great impact on your future. With a wide range of options, control and flexibility, you can choose a pension plan that's right for you. If you’re wondering where to start, you can find a local financial advisor near you with the Zurich Advisor Finder.

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