I have a small pension pot from an employer I started with in the last few years; it's around £15k which is entirely the employer's contributions.
I have had no other pension prior to this, due to being self-employed all my life and having invested in other ways. I am a long way from the 55 minimum withdrawal age.
I would like to withdraw this entire sum, as the cash is much more use to me now.
Although many sites online purport to advise you on this process, they actually all just say "DO NOT DO IT! You'll pay 55% tax! If someone told you to do this, it's probably a scam!" etc etc. It seems very difficult to find any straight-forward information on this scenario, either from government guidance or elsewhere.
My questions are:
- How is the tax on such an action calculated? Is it simply counted as earned income, or is it in some other category?
- Would the pension provider subtract the tax, or would it be my responsibility to pay it to HMRC?
- How do I go about actually initiating the process to withdraw this sum?
Please avoid any "don't do it" type answers; I'd like to hear just the facts. Please presume I am happy to pay any level of tax on the sum.
Mod Note - OP is in the UK, Non-UK specific responses will be deleted.
Edit: I have found some further information - this would count as an "unauthorised payment": https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20140603101853/http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/pensionschemes/unauthorised-payments.htm
The following example suggests that pension providers may be willing to make these "unauthorised payments" and pass the cost to the customer: https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20140603161241/http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/rpsmmanual/RPSM04104831.htm