Scheme administrators have to use Pension Schemes Online to send information electronically to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). This guide tells you who can use Pension Schemes Online, how to sign up to use the service, the information you’ll need and where to go for help.
On this page:
You can use Pension Schemes Online if you're either a scheme administrator or a practitioner appointed by a scheme administrator. Some functions - such as registering a pension scheme or changing the scheme administrator - can’t be carried out by a practitioner.
If you're the scheme administrator you're responsible for making sure that the tax rules are followed and that any tax due is paid. You can appoint a practitioner to look after the day to day running of the scheme but they must already be set up on the online service for you to do this. The scheme administrator must agree the content of any reports sent by the practitioner to HMRC.
As the scheme administrator you must use Pension Schemes Online to:
You can also use Pension Schemes Online to:
There are some things you can’t use Pension Schemes Online for these include:
Getting online is a two-step process:
Step 1 - pre-register to set up your details - this process can take up to seven days
Step 2 - register and activate the online service
When you pre-register you're given:
You'll need both of these to register and activate the online service.
If you have the same role for more than one scheme you can use the same ID.
If a scheme has more than one administrator each person must pre-register separately.
When you get your scheme administrator or practitioner ID you register and activate the online service and set up a user ID and password.
You'll need these every time you use the Pension Schemes Online Service.
More guidance on signing up to use Pension Schemes Online as a scheme administrator or practitioner is in chapters 3 and 4 of the Guide to Using the Online Service for Scheme Administrators and Practitioners – follow the link below.
Once you're signed up you need to attach yourself to a pension scheme record - see the section below on how to attach yourself to a registered pension scheme.
If the scheme hasn’t been registered you’ll need to register it – find out more in the link below.
Pension Schemes Online has a record of most schemes approved before 6 April 2006. These will have been given a Pension Scheme Tax Reference (PSTR). If you don’t know the PSTR you can use the old SF reference to find the scheme record. This is a numerical reference with a letter at the end, like this:
If you want to add yourself to the scheme record you’ll need the whole reference number to add yourself correctly. Contact the Pension Schemes Services Helpline if you want to check that you’ve got the right reference number.
More on this in Chapter 5 of the Guide to Using the Online Service for Scheme Administrators and Practitioners.
You can’t add yourself as scheme administrator if there is already one recorded on the system for that scheme. The existing administrator must associate you to the scheme before you can add yourself. More on this in chapter 7 of the Guide to Using the Online Service for Scheme Administrators and Practitioners.
Only the scheme administrator can authorise a practitioner to act for the scheme. The practitioner must already be registered to use the online service as the scheme administrator will need the Practitioner ID to authorise them. When they've done this the practitioner can view the scheme’s online details and discuss them with HMRC.
More on this in chapter 8 of the Guide to Using the Online Service for Scheme Administrators and Practitioners.
If you can't find your ID or your password you can get a replacement. Go to the Online Services login page (see the link below), then follow the 'lost User ID' or 'lost password' links.
For security purposes you'll need to answer a number of questions before a replacement User ID or password is issued. Your ID or password will be sent to you by email (if you've given an email address) or by first class post.
If you've lost both your User ID and password please call the Online Services Helpdesk.
If you have technical problems using or accessing the Online Service contact the Online Services Helpdesk.
For information on service availability and any technical issues with Pension Schemes Online follow the links below. These will give the latest service availability details and information about any current service issues and how HMRC is dealing with them.