Published: 22/08/2023 By Mackenzie StreetHow would you like to turn £907 into £6,000?
To get a full basic state pension you need to have made at least 35 years’ of National Insurance (NI) contributions.
For some people, they have missing years of NI contributions because they were:
- employed but had low earnings
- unemployed and were not claiming benefits
- self-employed but did not pay contributions because of small profits
- living or working outside the UK
The good news is that it is possible to top up your NI record through voluntary contributions. If you have reached, or will reach, state pension age after 5 April 2016, then you can currently go back to tax year 2006/07 and ‘sweep up’ any missing years. However, this option to top up is not going to be around indefinitely, the Government have set a deadline of April 2025, after this you will only be able to go back a maximum of 6 tax years.
The current cost of buying back an NI year, through voluntary class 3 NI contributions, is £17.45 per week or £907.40 per year. Each extra year of voluntary NI contributions you make is currently worth around £300 per year in terms of extra state pension. Therefore someone who gets this annual increase in their state pension for around 3 years will recover their initial outlay (net of basic rate tax) and everything beyond that would be profit. Over 20 years, which may well be the length of time which you receive your state pension, this would be worth £6,000.
So £907 has potentially become £6,000 and that doesn’t include any increases in the state pension in the future.
A word of warning - paying voluntary NI contributions isn’t necessarily right for everybody.
If you think you might have missing years of NI, the first thing to do is to confirm what your NI contribution history is like. To do this create or log in to your Government Gateway account, here you can see if there are any missing NI years (read our blog on pay missing NI now for further details on how to check your National Insurance record). It’s also wise to double check with the Department of Work and Pensions before making any contributions.
If you need any help with understanding how topping up your NI contributions could make you better off please get in touch. Call us on 020 8661 7878 or email email@example.com
This article is based on our understanding of current tax legislation. Levels of taxation will depend upon individual circumstances and may be subject to change in the future.