Further extension to the deadline for making voluntary National Insurance Contributions

Alexandra Docherty

Alexandra Docherty

Partner and Head of Private Client Tax

Note: this blog was updated on 26 June 2023 following the Government's further extension of the deadline from 31 July 2023 to 5 April 2025.

The Government has recently announced an extension to the deadline for individuals to check their National Insurance Contributions (NICs) record and consider whether to make additional contributions. The extended deadline will now end on 5 April 2025.

The original deadline was 5 April 2023, then in March 2023 this was extended to 31 July 2023. It has now been extended once again to 5 April 2025.

If there is a shortfall of NIC contributions for a particular year, voluntary contributions can be made in order to maximise entitlement to the UK state pension and other benefits.

NICs are paid by employed and self-employed earners and are based on their earnings for the year. The contributions paid each year make up the individual’s contribution record and these ”NIC credits” are used to calculate their entitlement to the UK state pension and other benefits. NIC credits can also be obtained by individuals who are not in work but are claiming certain state benefits.

An individual is required to pay (or be deemed to have paid) sufficient NICs for at least 10 years in order to claim the UK state pension. Each year is known as a qualifying year with the maximum entitlement to a UK state pension being based on 35 qualifying years. Where insufficient contributions have been made for a year, an individual may opt to pay NICs on a voluntary basis. If the voluntary contributions are made, that year will qualify for the purposes of calculating the future entitlement to the UK state pension. Voluntary contributions currently amount to £15.85 per week.

Previously, it was only possible to make voluntary contributions for the previous six tax years.  When introducing the new state pension in 2016, the Government extended the window for making such contributions so that an individual could go as far back to 6 April 2006 to top up their NIC contribution record. This temporary extension was due to end on 5 April 2023, however after the public voiced their concerns over this deadline it was increased till 31 July 2023. Now the Government has further increased the deadline until 5 April 2025, it is expected that this revised deadline will allow tens of thousands more individuals to take advantage of this and pay the voluntary national insurance contributions to complete their record.

The rate of voluntary NICs has increased to £17.45 per week from 6 April 2023. The Government has, however, confirmed that any voluntary payments made between 6 April 2023 and 5 April 2025 will be made at the following rates where a gap in an individual’s National Insurance record falls in the following dates:

  • Between 6 April 2006 and 5 April 2023 - £15.85 per week (i.e. the NIC rate applying in 2022/2023)
  • After 5 April 2023 - £17.45 per week

After the 5 April deadline, the time limit will revert back to the usual period of six years and this means that an individual will only be able to make voluntary contributions for the tax years 2017/18 onwards

Ahead of this deadline for making good any shortfall in contributions, it is imperative that individuals review their contribution record and where a shortfall is identified for a particular year, take the appropriate advice as to whether voluntary contributions should be made.    

Next steps

Should you wish to discuss further, please get in touch with a member of our Private Client Tax team, Wealth team, or your usual Johnston Carmichael adviser, If you require a summary of your National Insurance Contribution record to date then the HMRC website can assist.

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