HMRC extends the deadline further on Voluntary National Insurance Contributions
Background of National Insurance Contributions and State Benefits
Individuals who are employed or self-employed are required to pay national insurance contributions in accordance with their earnings. The number of qualifying years an individual has accrued over their working life determines their entitlement to state benefits, including the state pension and Employment and Support Allowance.
Previous Voluntary Contributions Deadline
As previously mentioned in our April 2023 article, eligible individuals had the option to pay voluntary contributions for tax years dating right back to April 2006.
Deadline Extension Announcement
The original plan was to change the voluntary contributions deadline to only allow backdating for the past six tax years starting from 6 April 2023. However, due to a surge in contact with HMRC and the Department for Work and Pensions, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Victoria Atkins, announced an extension of the deadline to 31 July 2023 during the Spring.
Further Extension to 5 April 2025
Recently, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury announced another extension to the deadline. Individuals will now have until 5 April 2025 to make voluntary contributions for the period between April 2006 and April 2016, as well as for the tax years 2016/17 and 2017/18. HMRC has confirmed that the national insurance rates for 2022/23 will apply to the retrospective voluntary contributions made for the tax years 2006/07 to 2017/18.
Benefits of the New Extension
This additional extension grants tax practitioners more time to assist their clients in identifying gaps in their national insurance records. It allows individuals to make informed decisions regarding voluntary contributions and maintain their eligibility for state benefits.
Improved Digital Service
HMRC intends to enhance its digital service to facilitate the voluntary contributions process for most individuals, enabling them to handle it online.
Limitations from 6 April 2025 Onwards
Starting from 6 April 2025 onwards, voluntary contributions can only be backdated for a maximum of six tax years.
So what does this all mean for you?
Previously, you had the option to pay voluntary contributions dating back to April 2006. However, the deadline for backdating these contributions has undergone several extensions. Initially, it was set to be shortened to only six tax years starting from 6 April 2023.
However, due to the high volume of enquiries, the deadline was extended to 31 July 2023.
As mentioned recently, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury announced another extension, allowing individuals to make voluntary contributions until 5 April 2025 for the period from April 2006 to April 2016, as well as for the tax years 2016/17 and 2017/18. The idea being that this extension gives tax practitioners more time to help clients identify gaps in their national insurance records.
HMRC plans to improve its digital service to make the contributions process more accessible. However, starting from 6 April 2025, voluntary contributions can only be backdated for a maximum of six tax years.
If you feel that you have gaps in your national insurance record, check out our National Insurance Deadline Extension: Is Topping Up Worth It for Your Retirement? article where we cover a number of areas for you to consider.