If you want to ensure you qualify for the full state pension, then you can top up National Insurance contributions.
Currently, voluntary National Insurance (NI) contributions can be made to plug gaps right back as far as April 2006. However, you need to do so by April 2025. After this, you will only be able to make voluntary contributions for gaps dating back six years.
In April 2016, the ‘new state pension’ system was introduced.
In general, to qualify for the maximum new state pension, you need to have 35 years of NI contributions or NI credits. To qualify for part payment, you need 10 years’ worth of NI contributions/credits. Rules may differ for those whose NI record started before 6 April 2016 and the number of required years of NI contributions/credits to obtain the full state pension may be higher.
You can check your National Insurance payment record at https://www.gov.uk/check-national-insurance-record.
If you find you have a shortfall, then until April 2025, you can plug any gaps going back as far as 2006. After that date, you will only be able to go back to the 2017/18 tax year.
If you are a taxpayer, you should also check that there are no discrepancies between your NI record and what you have paid via PAYE or self-assessment. If there are discrepancies, contact HMRC here: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-revenue-customs/contact/national-insurance-enquiries-for-employees-and-individuals.
Should you wish to top up any shortfall, you can find more information on how to make a voluntary NI contribution here: https://www.gov.uk/voluntary-national-insurance-contributions/deadlines.
For help and advice with tax planning, please get in touch with the team at Optimum. We work with business owners, individuals, and families across Swindon, Wiltshire, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, and the surrounding area.