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How to check for gaps in your national insurance

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When filing my tax return recently I was talking to a friend about national insurance. Then I started wondering how you would know if you had gaps in your national insurance. Anyway, it turns out it is really simple to check for gaps in your national insurance so today I’m going to talk you through the process.

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How to check for gaps in your national insurance

First you head on over to the relevant part of the website. Here you can see what you’ve paid, up to the start of the current tax year. Any national insurance credits that you have received.

If you have any gaps in your national insurance and if you can pay to fill gaps in your national insurance. This varies from year to year so I am going to show you an example of what you can expect to see.

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You’ll need your Government Gateway ID to sign in. If you don’t have one yet you can set one up but you’ll need to wait for something to come through the post. If you need to do this then bookmark the website as a reminder to go back and check in a week or two.

Once you’re signed in you’ll see this screen:

Screenshot of checking your national insurance contributions

You’ll then be sent an access code to your mobile. Once you’re signed in you can check for gaps in your national insurance or print off proof of your NI number. You’ll be able to see all of the years that they have data for. Here is an example of what a full year will display like:

Gaps in your national insurance - What a full year looks like

If you have a year where you have not completed the payments you’ll be able to open up a dropdown to see what you need to pay. The amounts differ, as you can see from this example. This depends on your NI status for the previous tax year, if paying class 2, or tax years, if paying class 3:

A screenshot of gaps in your national insurance - what a year looks like when you have not completed it

What to do if you have gaps in your national insurance?

Typically you can make up gaps in your national insurance from the past 6 years, based on current rates. You may be able to make up gaps in your national insurance from prior to this.

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You’ll want to contact HMRC to discuss this. You can usually pay gaps in a variety of ways. Also you can learn more about these methods on the Government website I linked to above.

Is it worth paying national insurance gaps?

I have previously made up a couple of years of national insurance contributions, as the money needed was incredibly low! This means I’m over halfway towards the contributions I need for a state pension now. Whether we have one then or not remains to be seen I guess!

If it is worth it for you just depends on whether you feel you’ll continue working, and earning enough to pay contributions, to cover the remaining years that you have to cover.

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Find out how to fix gaps in your national insurance and protect your state pension

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Emma T

Saturday 11th of January 2020

Last year i paid for a gap from 1998! It only appeared in my tax return voluntary payments section 2 years ago, but i only looked into it last year. Can't understand how it happened, as I've always been paid through PAYE but evidently my first employer missed something out when doing my pay for my first job.


Tuesday 14th of January 2020

Oh wow, that is some time ago isn't it. How bad that they messed up too!

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