In 2016 the ‘New State Pension’ was introduced. As part of transitional arrangements to the new State Pension, taxpayers have been able to make voluntary contributions in relation to any incomplete years in their National Insurance record between April 2006 and April 2016.
Anyone who is retiring on or after 6th April 2016, under the ‘new State Pension’ rules, requires approximately thirty five qualifying years to claim the full state pension.
The U.K. government has extended the voluntary National Insurance contribution deadline from 5th April 2023 to 31st July 2023. This will allow taxpayers more time to fill gaps in their NI records to maximise the amount they will receive in State Pension.
Therefore, if you’re a man born after 5th April 1951 or a woman born after 5th April 1953 you have until 31st July 2023 to pay voluntary contributions to make up for gaps between tax years April 2006 and April 2016, providing you’re eligible.
Where there are gaps in an individual’s National Insurance record, voluntary NICs can be paid to be eligible for a higher State Pension or entitlement to other state benefits. Therefore, anyone with gaps in their National Insurance record from April 2006 onwards still has time to fill the gaps and increase their State Pension.
After 31st July 2023 you’ll only be able to pay for voluntary contributions for the past six years which may not be sufficient to qualify for a new State Pension if you have less than four qualifying years on your National Insurance record. Normally, you would require at least ten qualifying years in total.
Please be aware that any payments made will be at the lower 2022 to 2023 tax year rates. In other words, where the rates of voluntary National Insurance contributions were due to go to up from 6th April 2023, payments made by 31st July 2023 will be paid at the lower rate.
To look at your personal tax account to view your National Insurance record and obtain a state pension forecast, without charge, please click link: https://www.gov.uk/check-state-pension
The Future Pension Centre can tell you if paying for extra national insurance years will increase your state pension entitlement. For full details, please click: https://www.gov.uk/future-pension-centre
Based on the information you receive from HMRC, if you have returned to Ireland and you decide to top up your pension contributions before the deadline date, please find link to Application Form: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1102905/CF83.pdf
Please click for full HMRC guidance material which may be relevant to you if you have returned from working in the UK: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/social-security-abroad-ni38/guidance-on-social-security-abroad-ni38#deciding-whether-to-pay-voluntary-national-insurance-contributions
The ability to buy back years by looking back to 2006 is scheduled to end on 31st July 2023. After the cut-off date, it will only be possible to pay for gaps in your National Insurance record by looking at the past six years. This means that you could lose out on the opportunity to maximise your UK State Pension for gap years before 2017.