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HMRC Extends Deadline for Voluntary National Insurance Contributions

HMRC Extends Deadline for Voluntary National Insurance Contributions

The deadline for making voluntary National Insurance Contributions (NICs) has been extended by HMRC to April 5, 2025. This extension provides taxpayers with additional time to fill gaps in their National Insurance records from April 2006, potentially boosting their State Pension entitlements. Importantly, the cost of these voluntary contributions will remain at 2022/2023 rates until this new deadline.

This extension allows individuals to thoroughly consider whether making voluntary contributions is the right choice and provides more time to spread the cost of these payments. Originally set to expire on July 31, 2023, the deadline has been further extended to ensure no one misses out on the chance to enhance their State Pension.

Key Considerations for Topping Up Your National Insurance Record

Why Top Up?

Your State Pension is based on the number of full National Insurance qualifying years you have. Gaps in your record can occur for various reasons, such as low earnings, periods of unemployment without claiming benefits, maternity leave, or living/working abroad. Filling these gaps with voluntary contributions can significantly increase your State Pension entitlement.

How Many Years Are Needed?

To qualify for the full State Pension, you need 35 years of National Insurance Contributions. For any State Pension, at least 10 years of contributions are required. The current full State Pension is £203.85 per week for the 2023-24 tax year.

How Far Back Can You Top Up?

Normally, you can only make voluntary contributions for the previous six tax years, with a deadline of April 5 each year. However, with the extended deadline, you can fill gaps from April 2006 to April 2017 until April 5, 2025. This is a unique opportunity to top up beyond the usual six-year limit.

Cost of Voluntary Contributions

The cost varies depending on when the gaps occurred. For the 2023-24 tax year, ‘Class 3’ contributions are £17.45 per week, totalling £907.40 for a full year. Rates for previous years are slightly lower. For gaps between 2006 and 2017, the cost is £15.85 per week.

Financial Benefits

Filling a full year’s gap costs approximately £824 and can be recouped within three years of receiving your State Pension. For example, paying £1,648 to fill two years could yield a benefit of £10,457 over an average 20-year retirement period.

How to Pay Voluntary NICs

  1. Get Your 18-Digit Reference Number:

    • Call HMRC on 0300 200 3500 to request it.
  2. Pay Quarterly or Annually:

    • Use the ‘Pay now’ link on the GOV.UK pages for Class 2 or Class 3 contributions.
  3. Set Up Direct Debit:

    • Ensure continuous contributions by setting up a Direct Debit if you have ongoing gaps.

Other Considerations

  • Eligibility and Refunds: Voluntary contributions might not always increase your State Pension and are non-refundable. Ensure you will benefit before making payments.

  • Impact on Pension Credit: An increased State Pension could reduce your Pension Credit, potentially offsetting any financial gain from voluntary contributions.

  • Health and Life Expectancy: If you have poor health or a shorter life expectancy, the financial benefits of increased State Pension might not justify the contributions.

  • Spousal Contributions: You might be able to use contributions from your spouse or civil partner to fill gaps.

  • Tax Implications: A higher State Pension could lead to increased tax liabilities.

For more detailed advice, contact Exchange Accountants at or call 028 9263 4135 to book an appointment with our specialists.


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