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Paying more to improve benefits

Purchase of notional service (PNS)

Civil and public servants who will have less than the maximum 40 years' service at retirement can make additional contributions to purchase additional years of service under their public sector scheme, commonly referred to as 'buying back' years. A small number of funded occupational pension schemes (primarily in the commercial semi-state sector) operate a similar facility, commonly referred to as 'added years'.

The PNS scheme is operated by public service employers (Government Departments, Local Authorities, State Agencies etc.) for public service employees including teachers, nurses, Gardaí and civil and public servants.

Payment may be by lump sum, or periodic deductions from pay. Purchase rates vary depending on the age at commencement of purchase and contributions are normally allowable against income tax, subject to the Revenue limits on pension contributions. Your employer should be able to make these deductions at source, but you should confirm this with your HR department.

For more information, see the Pensions Authority's booklet 'Purchase of Notional Service (PNS) and Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs)', available from the 'Pension guides' section.