National Insurance Contributions


You can check your National Insurance record online here to see:

  • what you have paid, up to the start of the current tax year
  • any National Insurance credits you’ve received
  • if gaps in contributions or credits mean some years do not count towards your State Pension, ie. they are not ‘qualifying years’
  • if you’ll benefit from paying voluntary contributions to fill any gaps
  • how your State Pension forecast will change if you decide to pay voluntary contributions
  • if you can pay voluntary contributions online and how much this will cost

You will need the Government Gateway ID and password to access your personal account.

For anyone reaching State Pension age after 6th April 2016, you need at least ten years’ National Insurance contributions or credits to qualify for any State Pension. You need at least 35 years to receive the full State Pension amount; or 30 years if you reached State Pension age before 6th April 2016.  The tax year in which you reach State Pension age cannot be used as a qualifying year for your State Pension.

If you don’t have the full number of qualifying years, you can pay voluntary contributions to increase your pension.  However, voluntary contributions don’t always increase your State Pension, and there’s no automatic right to a refund. So make sure you’ll benefit from making them first.  Here’s what to consider before you make voluntary contributions.

  • A higher State Pension might mean you pay more tax
  • If you’re in very poor health, or if you have a short life expectancy, you might not get the benefit of an increased State Pension. This is because it normally takes a number of years to get more back than you’ll pay in voluntary contributions.
  • You might be able to use contributions from your spouse or civil partner instead of paying voluntary contributions. This includes if they’ve died or you’ve split up.
  • If you’re not at State Pension age yet, instead of making voluntary contributions, you might be able to top up your record by working or receiving National Insurance credits.

The cost to fill in gaps in your National Insurance record for the 2024/25 tax year are £179.40 (£3.45 per week) for the year for Class 2 (NIC Class for the self-employed); and £907.40 (£17.45 per week) for the year for Class 3 (NIC Class for the employed).

Each additional qualifying year works out to be an extra £328.64 a year in State Pension.  If you lived 20 years after receiving the State Pension, the amount you would get back would be £6,572.80 for an initial cost of £179 or £907.

If you’re paying contributions for previous tax years, the cost depends on the year involved. For example, the cost of Class 3 voluntary contributions for each of the following full years would be:

2006/07– 2019/20: £824.20

2020/21: £795.60

2021/22: £800.80

2022/23: £824.20

2023/24: £907.40

You can usually pay voluntary contributions for the past 6 years, with the deadline for making payment being 5th April each year.  For example, you have until 5th April 2030 to pay for gaps in the tax year 2023 to 2024.  However, if you want to make voluntary contributions for the tax years 2016 to 2017 or 2017 to 2018, the deadline to pay has been extended to 5th April 2025.  In addition, if you’re a man born after 5th April 1951 or a woman born after 5th April 1953, you have until 5th April 2025 to pay voluntary contributions to make up for gaps between the tax years April 2006 and April 2016.  After 5th April 2025 you’ll only be able to pay for voluntary contributions for the past 6 years.

Please note that Castletons is unable to provide pensions advice.  We suggest clients speak to their financial advisors before they make any voluntary contributions to make sure it would be right for them.

Castletons Accountants

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