If you have a pension gap in your pension fund, you can close it with 3a funds. You can transfer 3a assets to the pension fund. This is possible up to the normal retirement age, and even five years beyond that if you can prove that you remain gainfully employed.
If the account balance is lower than the maximum pension fund purchase amount, the entire 3a account has to be transferred. If the account balance is higher than the purchasing potential, you can leave part of it in the 3a account (see remaining amount).
By the way: it is not possible to transfer to a vested benefits account. Vested benefits accounts have no purchasing capacity and therefore do not have a gap that could be filled with 3a funds.
Sense and nonsense of a transfer
As a rule, a transfer from the 3rd pillar to the pension fund (2nd pillar) is tax-neutral. Seen across both pillars, the pension assets do not increase. Therefore, no tax deduction is allowed.
It would therefore make more sense to buy from free reserves and thus increase the pension assets. Because then you can also deduct the purchase from your taxable income.
However, if you do not have any free reserves, it may still be beneficial under certain circumstances to close the gap in your pension fund with 3rd pillar funds. Possible advantages are: Higher pension benefits and better risk coverage.
Please note, however, that buying into the pension fund is not always advantageous. It depends to a large extent on how high the pension fund’s benefit level is and how the pension fund is financially positioned.
Transfer from age of 59/60: also possible in two steps
From the age of 59 or 60, the 3rd pillar can be withdrawn early. You can then use the money you receive in this way to buy into the pension fund and save on tax again.
But this approach is sensitive. Especially if the purchase is made in the same year as the purchase of the 3rd pillar, the tax authorities are inclined to accuse you of deliberate tax evasion and therefore refuse you the tax deduction. If you do not make the purchase until a year after receiving the 3rd pillar and if you would otherwise have enough money for the purchase, the procedure is legitimate. There is no direct connection between receiving the 3rd pillar and buying into the 2nd pillar.
If you are planning to withdraw part of your pension fund in the form of a lump sum, you must buy into the pension fund at least three years before retirement. Otherwise, the tax deduction will be canceled retroactively and you will have to pay additional tax.