What the extension to the National Insurance top-up deadline could mean for you
You may have recently seen in the news that a key deadline for topping up your National Insurance (NI) record was recently extended to April 2025.
This deadline could be important to you, as it may present an opportunity to ensure that you’ll receive the full amount from the State Pension when you reach State Pension Age.
In the 2023/24 tax year, the full amount you can receive from the State Pension is £203.85 a week, just over £10,600 a year. As what you’ll receive in State Pension is partially dictated by your National Insurance contributions (NICs), it may be worth checking whether you can benefit from the postponement to the deadline.
So, find out what this extension means, and why you may want to consider making additional contributions to your NI record.
You typically need 35 years of qualifying NICs to receive the full new State Pension
Under the new State Pension introduced in 2016, you typically need 35 years of qualifying NICs to receive the full amount. Meanwhile, you generally need at least 10 years of NICs to receive any State Pension at all.
As a PAYE employee, you’ll typically see Class 1 NICs deducted directly from your earnings. Meanwhile, if you are self-employed, you may pay either:
- Class 2 NICs, which are fixed weekly amounts
- Class 4 NICs, paid on a portion of your profits.
If you don’t pay NICs in a certain year, you can usually top up your record by making voluntary Class 3 NICs. Normally, you can go back up to six tax years when making these voluntary contributions.
But crucially, when the government transitioned to the new State Pension, it extended this deadline to ensure that those who were on the old State Pension were not negatively affected.
As a result, individuals were initially able to make additional contributions to their records between 6 April 2006 and 5 April 2016. This extension was then set to end in April 2023.
However, this was first prolonged to 31 July 2023, and now all the way to 5 April 2025. This Is Money reports that this was as a result of so many people trying to top up their records that it put too much pressure on HMRC administration.
Topping up your record could be worth an extra £7,740 in retirement
The main question you may have over topping up your NI record is whether it’s financially worthwhile.
According to figures from MoneyWeek, it costs £907 in the 2023/24 tax year to top up a full year of Class 3 NICs.
That said, if you’re doing so for the period between 2006 and 2016, you’ll pay the rates for the 2022/23 tax year. This is £15.85 a week, or around £824 a year.
It may also be cheaper if you’re completing contributions from a year in which you have already made some NICs, or if you’re self-employed and paying Class 2 NICs, which are cheaper.
The MoneyWeek data shows that topping up just one year for £907 could boost your State Pension by £7,740, assuming you have a retirement of at least 20 years.
Meanwhile, if you had 10 years’ worth of gaps in your record, filling these in for a cost of around £9,070 (or lower, depending on when you have missing years) could be worth:
- £15,927 over five years in retirement
- £33,946 over 10 years in retirement
- £77,400 over 20 years in retirement.
As a result, depending on your individual circumstances, it could be a sensible financial decision to top up your record.
There are various reasons you may have gaps in your record
While not everyone will have gaps to fill in their records, it’s still worth checking your State Pension forecast using the government website, as you may have missing years that you aren’t aware of.
For example, if you had earnings below the NI threshold in certain years, you may not have made a full year of contributions. This is particularly the case for self-employed individuals, as you may not have made NICs in low-profit years.
Furthermore, if you lived or worked outside the UK over the course of your career, you may not have made contributions during that period.
One other aspect to consider is that you may be able to fill in the gaps in your record for free. As we discussed in a previous article, you may be able to claim NI “credits” if you were out of work while caring for children or grandchildren.
In this case, depending on certain criteria, you may be able to top up your record without having to pay.
It can be worth checking your record first before making voluntary contributions, as you may be able to achieve the same goal for free.
Speak to us
If you’d like to find out more about what the extension to this deadline could mean for you, please get in touch with us at Britannic Place.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01905 419890 to speak to an experienced adviser today.
This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.
All contents are based on our understanding of HMRC legislation, which is subject to change.