As explained in NIM25001, a person is not entitled to pay (ie, is precluded from paying) Class 3 NICs in certain circumstances. Subject to the qualification in NIM25011, one of those is that they cannot pay for any tax year for which the aggregate of their earnings factors (“EFs”) derived from:
is more than 25 times the lower earnings limit (“LEL”) but less than 52 times for the tax year in question, and either:
For the meaning of “credited” for the purposes of the above, see NIM25008.
Mr X pays 31 Class 3 NICs for the 2003/04 tax year. The EF
derived from those NICs is £2,387. But having paid the 31
NICs, he decides, in December 2003, that he is unable to pay the
other 21 NICs need to give him a qualifying year. Instead, in
January 2004, he asks for a refund of the 31 NICs.
The EF of £2,387 is more than 25 times, but less than 52 times, the LEL for the 2003/04 year. The time by which Class 3 NICs are, for that year, treated as paid for benefit purposes under regulation 4 is 5th April 2010. As Mr X has applied for a refund of the 31 NICs before that date, those NICs are precluded.
The fact that he was not precluded from paying the NICs in the first place by any of the circumstances in NIM25005 is irrelevant. The NICs have, in essence, become precluded.
For details of the other circumstances in which a person is precluded from paying Class 3 NICs, see NIM25006 - NIM25008 and NIM25010 – NIM25017.