Person checking their National Insurance record

Check your National Insurance record before 31st July 2023 deadline

If you are planning to claim the UK state pension, we urge you to check your National Insurance (NI) record for any NI contribution gaps. Because from 31st July 2023, the timeframe for making voluntary contributions will revert back to the normal six years.

Please note that the deadline to top up national insurance contributions was extended by the UK Government on 7th March 2023 from the previously announced deadline of 5th April 2023 to 31st July 2023.

If you are planning to claim the UK state pension, we urge you to check your National Insurance (NI) record before 31st July 2023, particularly if you are, or have been, self-employed and may have gaps in your NI history.

Currently, voluntary contributions can be made to fill gaps in NI contributions back to April 2006.

But from 1st August 2023, the timeframe for making voluntary contributions will revert back to the normal six years, to the 2017/18 tax year only.

NI contributions are usually made by employed and self-employed individuals based on their earnings. Some eligible individuals may also receive NI credits. These NI credits or contributions make up your NI history.

In general, to qualify for the maximum ‘new state pension’ (received by those retiring on or after 6th April 2016), you need to have 35 qualifying years of NI contributions. To receive a part payment, you must have contributed for at least 10 years. If your NI record started before 6th April 2016, the number of required years of NI contributions/credits to obtain the full state pension may be higher.

If you have not contributed enough NI prior to reaching state pension age, then you may not receive the full state pension amount.

That’s why, if you think that you will have gaps in your NI contributions and you want to protect your state pension, it can be beneficial to make voluntary NI contributions to top up your NI history.

In the past, it has only been possible to make voluntary contributions going back six tax years. However, there is currently an extension in place so that you can back fill any gaps in NI contributions by making voluntary contributions from the present date back to April 2006.

However, from 6th April, the timeframe to make voluntary contributions will revert back to the standard six years.

So, if you think you may have shortfalls in your NI contributions going back to April 2006, we urge you to check your NI record to identify any gaps now.

You should also check that your NI record includes NI credits and NI contributions paid through self-assessment or PAYE. If you find any errors, then you should contact HMRC.

Actions to take before 31st July 2023

The ICAEW has outlined the following steps for taxpayers to take before 31st July 2023:

  • Check your NI record
  • Identify any discrepancies between NI contributions paid and those showing on HMRC’s system
  • Identify any NI credits that are missing from periods in which they should have been received (eg, on receipt of universal credit or child benefit)
  • Identify any shortfalls in contributions
  • Contact HMRC if you think there are any errors
  • Decide whether to make voluntary NI contributions

Should you have any questions about National Insurance, or any other tax matter, contact our accounting experts without delay.

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