HMRC New Tool for Voluntary National Insurance Contributions

In the UK, the National Insurance (NI) system serves as a fundamental pillar of the welfare state, providing financial support and services to individuals throughout their lives. National Insurance Contributions (NICs) require mandatory payments made by most employees, employers, and self-employed individuals to fund state benefits, including the State Pension, statutory sick pay, and unemployment benefits.

However, not everyone’s National Insurance record is uniform, and there may be gaps that could affect eligibility for certain benefits, particularly the State Pension. To address this, His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) offers an avenue for individuals to make voluntary NICs, allowing them to fill gaps in their contributions record and secure their entitlement to state benefits.

Understanding Voluntary Contributions

Individuals make voluntary NIC payments to increase their entitlement to certain state benefits, primarily the State Pension. These contributions are designed to fill gaps in a person’s National Insurance record, which can occur due to various reasons such as periods of unemployment, low earnings, or time spent abroad.

There are different classes of voluntary contributions available, each catering to specific circumstances:

Class 2 Voluntary Contributions: Self-employed individuals who do not meet the threshold for mandatory Class 2 contributions but wish to maintain their entitlement to benefits can opt to pay voluntary Class 2 NICs. These contributions are relatively inexpensive compared to other classes and are often sought by self-employed individuals with low profits or those exempt from paying Class 2 NICs.

Class 3 Voluntary Contributions: This option is available to individuals who do not have a qualifying year of NICs but want to fill gaps in their record. These contributions are typically used by individuals who have been out of work or living abroad for an extended period and wish to protect their entitlement to the State Pension and other benefits.

Class 4 Voluntary Contributions: Self-employed individuals who have already paid the maximum amount of Class 2 NICs for a tax year may choose to pay Class 4 voluntary contributions to increase their entitlement to certain benefits.

Benefits of Making Voluntary Contributions

The primary benefit of making voluntary NICs is the enhancement of one’s entitlement to state benefits, particularly the State Pension. By filling gaps in their National Insurance record, individuals can ensure that they meet the eligibility criteria for the full State Pension amount upon reaching retirement age. Moreover, voluntary contributions can be a prudent financial decision for individuals who anticipate relying on state benefits in the future or who wish to safeguard their financial security during retirement. By proactively addressing gaps in their National Insurance record, individuals can mitigate the risk of facing financial hardship in later life.

How to Make Voluntary Contributions

Individuals interested in making voluntary NICs can do so by contacting HMRC directly or through their personal tax account on the HMRC website. The process typically involves assessing the individual’s National Insurance record, identifying any gaps, and determining the most suitable class of voluntary contributions to address those gaps.

HMRC have now made it easier than ever to check for and fill any gaps in your National Insurance record. The new digital service, called Check your State Pension forecast is a joint service by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). They have enhanced it to include a fully end-to-end digital solution.

Those who are eligible have until 5 April 2025 to pay voluntary contributions to make up gaps in their NI record between 6 April 2006 and 5 April 2018. From 6 April 2025, people will only be able to pay voluntary contributions for the previous 6 tax years, in line with normal time limits.

Customers will need to login to the new digital service using their Personal Tax Account details. Those without an online HMRC account can register on GOV.UK.

Further Information

To arrange a meeting to discuss your affairs or drop in with your books and records, please contact your usual NRB advisor or our tax team.

Click here to find out more about our services.


Integrity is at the forefront of everything we do as we apply the strongest ethical and moral rigour across how we work and assist our clients.

At NR Barton we understand the importance of trust and through our integrity we make sure this underpins absolutely everything we do.

We like to do the best for our clients and this isn’t always easy. We aren’t afraid to use our integrity to confront difficult situations. We firmly believe that acting with our utmost integrity those difficult conversations will help to build our trust with our clients. Sometimes the difficult option is the best.

It is also our integrity that has helped us to build a strong local relationship in our market place and the thrive as a business for the last seventy years.

We’re here for the long term and our integrity will help us to achieve that.