I am advised by Revenue that additional voluntary contributions (AVCs) are contributions that an individual can make to an occupational pension scheme in the public or private sector, in addition to their normal contributions, to increase her retirement benefits. An individual can choose the rate at which they contribute to an AVC. Tax relief is available on the amount the individual pays, subject to statutory age-related and overall income limits per tax year.
An individual can only make AVCs into a pension scheme if the rules of the particular scheme permit them. Alternatively, a Personal Retirement Savings Account (PRSA) product should be made available by the employer for the purposes of making AVCs.
Where AVCs are paid, the benefits are subject to the rules of the individual’s scheme and the Revenue limits applying to occupational pension schemes. Access to AVCs is therefore normally available only upon retirement.
Section 782A of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 allowed members of occupational pension schemes a three-year period, from 27 March 2013 to 26 March 2016, during which they could draw down, on a once-off basis, up to 30% of the accumulated value of their AVCs. The amount drawn down was subject to income tax under Schedule E, PRSI and USC, which was collected under the PAYE system. This provision applied for that three-year period only.
I have no plans to make any additional changes in this area.