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  • Writer's pictureXero Queen

Plugging NIC Gaps

Many people don’t realise that they have significant gaps in their NIC record, and as a result they won’t be entitled to the full state retirement pension. This can come as a shock when they taxpayer starts to receive their state pension, but by that time it is often too late to fill the gaps. So, what's the story? Can anything be done?

A taxpayer needs 35 complete NIC years in order to receive the maximum state retirement pension, and at least 10 completed NIC years to receive any state retirement pension. But how would you know if you had enough complete years?

The good news is it's really easy to check your NIC record on your online personal tax account.

If you find that your NIC record shows there are gaps, these should not be taken at face value. The reason for the gap should be investigated and HMRC challenged to look for missing NI contributions or credits.

It is not uncommon for NI credits to be missed by HMRC for periods where the taxpayer was claiming child benefit or universal credit, and not working and Class 3 NI credits should have been given automatically for these periods. However in other circumstances for example when acting as foster carer, or a grandparent caring for a child, you will need to apply to HMRC for class 3 NIC credits.

What else can you do?

Where there is a genuine a gap in your NIC record you can pay voluntary contributions going back up to six years to fill in the missing weeks to make a tax year complete for NIC.

At the moment you can go back to tax year 2016/17 and fill in the gaps in NIC records by making the necessary voluntary payments, these must be made before 6 April 2023.

However, due to the recent increases in the state retirement age there is currently there is a special dispensation that allows women born after 5 April 1953 and men born after 5 April 1951, to complete gaps in their NIC record right back to 6 April 2006. This opportunity to make up these old years with voluntary NIC payments closes on 5 April 2023, so there is not much time to take action!

Further Reading

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