National Insurance Contributions (NICS) Deadline Extended to 5 April 2025
The Government has announced a significant extension to the deadline for paying voluntary National Insurance contributions (NICs) to top up state pensions. This is an important deadline for anyone living overseas who wants to claim their UK State Pension when they retire.
Previously you had until the end of July to ensure you’d made up any shortfall in NICs payments to HMRC. But due to the response from tens of thousands of taxpayers this has now been extended to April 5, 2025.
Here’s an important reminder of what you need to do before the deadline.
National Insurance contributions – a recap
If you’ve previously lived in the UK, have worked there for three consecutive years before leaving and have at least 10 qualifying years of NICs payments, you’re entitled to a State Pension when you reach retirement age.
But to receive your full pension entitlement (currently more than £8,000 per year), you need 35 years of NICs payments. Up until now, it’s been possible to retrospectively purchase several years at once, and the government has allowed people to go back as far as 2006 to fill in any gaps.
But after 5 April 2025 this will no longer be possible. After this date, you’ll only be able to make contributions for the six most recent tax years. Depending on how close you are to retirement and your NICs record, this might mean not having enough years of payments to receive the full State Pension.
What does it cost – and what’s it worth?
For the current financial year, the annual State Pension is £8,122.40 (£156.20 per week). But depending on the number of qualifying years you have, there’s a sliding scale for entitlement between 10 and 35 years.
The cost of filling in any gaps in your NICs record will depend on the type of NICs you pay. Those living and working abroad pay ‘Class 2’ NIC (that’s £179 for the current financial year), while if you’re living abroad but not working, you pay ‘Class 3’ NIC (working out at £907 for the 23/24 financial year). However, the amount you pay depends on the original rate for the relevant tax year.
Is it worth it? Not in all circumstances. If you’ve already made up 35 qualifying NICs years, there is no additional benefit to buying more years – the full state pension payment will stay the same. The same applies for the other end of the scale. If your voluntary contributions are not going to bring you up to 10 qualifying years of NICs, it might not be worthwhile making additional payments.
But, for others, there is a definite advantage. In particular, men born after 5 April 1951 and women born after 5 April 1953 should look at whether they could benefit from topping up their contributions.
For the full government guidance visit here.
Don’t miss the new deadline
Before anything else, make your first step getting a state pension forecast. This will let you know what your likely entitlement will be once you retire and highlight any gaps in your NICs record.
Check your state pension here.
And even though the deadline has been extended again, if you have significant gaps in your NICs record and want to address these, make sure you act before the new deadline on 5 April 2025.
If you have any questions about this process or any other questions about your retirement planning and pension provision, please contact us today or call us on +44 (0)131 625 6000.