In this section:

  • Voluntary Class 3 National Insurance

How to pay voluntary Class 3 National Insurance

This guide gives you the payment deadlines for voluntary Class 3 National Insurance contributions and tells you about your payment options.

On this page:

Voluntary Class 3 National Insurance payment dates

Payments for the current year

If you want to pay voluntary Class 3 National Insurance contributions for the coming tax year you can pay monthly by Direct Debit, or by quarterly payment request using the other payment methods covered in this guide. The section on Direct Debit payments sets out the monthly payment dates. Quarterly payment requests are sent out in July, October, January and April.

Payments for previous years

If you have gaps in your National Insurance contribution record you usually have to make up any shortfall within six years from the end of the tax year for which the contributions are being paid (You can do this even if you have already reached State Pension age.) For example, voluntary Class 3 National Insurance contributions for the 2009-10 year have to be paid by 5 April 2016. If you pay more than two years after the end of the relevant tax year, the rate will normally go up.

However, there are some exceptions to these time limits and the rate payable. For more information please follow the link below.

When and how to top up your National Insurance contributions

Top

Payment options for quarterly payment requests and shortfall payments

Quarterly payment requests

In order to set up quarterly payment requests for voluntary Class 3 payments you need to call the National Insurance Helpline. They will set up an account and send you a payment request and payslip with a unique reference each quarter telling you how much to pay.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) recommends that you pay using one of the electronic methods covered in this guide. You can't currently pay by Direct Debit.

The table below shows when quarterly payment requests will be sent and the amount of Class 3 National Insurance contributions to pay for 2014-15.

Payment request issue date Period covered by request Amount
July 2014 06/04/2014 to 05/07/2014 £180.70
October 2014 06/07/2014 to 11/10/2014 £180.70
January 2015 12/10/2014 to 10/01/2015 £180.70
April 2015 11/01/2015 to 11/04/2015 £180.70

If you would like to set up quarterly payments for Class 3 National Insurance contributions you can call HMRC's National Insurance Self-Employed Helpline on telephone: 0300 200 3505.

Find out the National Insurance Self-Employed Helpline opening hours

One-off shortfall payments

If you have gaps in your National Insurance record you can pay using any of the one-off payment methods covered later in this guide - however HMRC recommends that you pay electronically. When making the payment use the payslip and/or reference that came with the letter 'Gaps in your NI record'.

Top

Use the right payment reference

When you pay HMRC it is important that you use the right reference number. This makes sure your payment reaches your account and that way you won't get reminders after you've paid.

To pay your voluntary Class 3 National Insurance contributions you will need:

  • Quarterly payments - your 18 character reference number. This is shown on the payment request that HMRC sends you. The first two characters are always '11' and the final character can be 'X'). For example, 112345678936985214
  • Shortfall payments - your 18 character reference number. You'll find this on the payslip that HMRC sends you. The first two characters are always '60' and final character can be 'X'

Check your voluntary Class 3 National Insurance reference with HMRC's reference checker

If you are paying overseas and are paying your contributions then you should use your National Insurance number, followed by 'IC' and your name and initial.

If you're an employer paying on behalf of an employee you should use your 13 digit employer number. For example, 0010000123456.

Top

Direct Debit - How to set-up

Direct Debit is an easy and secure way of paying your Class 3 National Insurance contributions. Payment is made automatically from your bank or building society each month in arrears.

HMRC recommends that you pay by Direct Debit because:

  • it's safe and secure
  • it puts you in control, making it less likely you'll miss a payment
  • Direct Debit provides certainty about when your payment will reach HMRC
  • unlike with any other payment method, you are protected by the Direct Debit Guarantee
  • it avoids the need to write cheques - and saves postage if you normally pay by post

Find out about the Direct Debit Guarantee (PDF 49K)

How to set up Direct Debit payments

Before you start to pay in this way you'll need to fill in a Direct Debit Instruction (DDI). You can download the DDI using the link below. You will need to provide your National Insurance number - you don't need a separate reference number.

Detach and keep the Direct Debit Guarantee and send the completed form and Direct Debit Instruction to HMRC at the address shown on the form.

Once the Direct Debit has been set up the payments will be collected for as long as you want, please see the table below for the collection dates and amounts for the current tax year. Please note that you can't pay quarterly by Direct Debit.

Get a voluntary National Insurance Direct Debit mandate form

Setting up payments - how much time to allow

It can take at least 21 days to set up a Direct Debit with your bank or building society, but HMRC will write to you in advance and confirm the date of the first payment.

Depending on the date that you have chosen to start making voluntary contributions, the first payment may cover more than one month.

Collection dates and amounts for 2014-15
Date of payment Amount
9 May 2014 £69.50
13 June 2014 £55.60
11 July 2014 £55.60
8 August 2014 £69.50
12 September 2014 £55.60
10 October 2014 £69.50
14 November 2014 £55.60
12 December 2014 £55.60
9 January 2015 £69.50
13 February 2015 £55.60
13 March 2015 £55.60
10 April 2015 £55.60
  Total: £722.80

Only the amounts shown in the table above will be collected by Direct Debit. HMRC won't collect any other amounts in this way.

Your bank statement

Your Direct Debit payment will appear on your bank statement with the description 'HMRC NI - DD'.

Top

Paying at your bank by Bank Giro

If your bank or building society offers the Bank Giro service you can make a payment at your own bank branch by cheque or cash. This is more efficient and secure than sending a payment by post.

If paying this way please:

  • take your HMRC payslip to your own bank branch (other banks may refuse to accept it or may charge you for this service)
  • make cheques payable to 'HM Revenue & Customs only' followed by your Class 3 National Insurance reference number

Please allow at least 3 bank working days for your payment to reach HMRC. Bank working days are Monday to Friday excluding bank holidays.

When paying by Bank Giro please only use an official HMRC payslip. HMRC payslips contain the correct HMRC bank account information and ensure payment reaches your account on time.

Top

At the Post Office

You can make a Class 3 quarterly payment request or shortfall payment at the Post Office by cheque, cash or debit card without charge. This is more efficient and secure than sending a payment by post.

If paying at the Post Office please:

  • take your HMRC payslip with you (or you will be charged for using this service)
  • make cheques payable to 'Post Office Ltd'

Please allow at least 3 bank working days for your payment to reach HMRC. Bank working days are Monday to Friday excluding bank holidays.

Top

By post

HMRC recommends that you make your payments electronically using one of the methods covered in this guide. If you use the right reference number electronic payments are more efficient and secure than sending cheques in the post.

If you do need to pay by post please:

  • make your cheque payable to 'HM Revenue & Customs only' followed by your 18 digit Class 3 National Insurance reference
  • send your cheque and payslip to HMRC's National Insurance Contributions Office at the address below
  • do not fold your payslip or cheque and do not fasten them together

Please allow 3 working days for your payment to reach HMRC. This allows for any delays in the post outside of HMRC's control.

Where to send your payment

HM Revenue & Customs
National Insurance Contributions Office
Longbenton
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE98 1ZZ

Postdated cheques

HMRC only accept a postdated cheque up to 3 months before payment is due if you have made an arrangement with them.

HMRC have automated the way they deal with payments sent by post. So you will need to send a letter with your post dated cheque. Otherwise HMRC won't know the cheque is postdated and will present it straight away.

Top

Payment receipt requests

If you have made your payment electronically using one of the methods covered in this guide you can confirm from your own bank or building society statement that payment has cleared your account.

If you send your payment by post you will need to send a letter with your payment if you want a receipt. Please don't write on your payslip as they are processed automatically.

If you want to tell HMRC about a change (such as a new address) you will need to include a separate letter with your payment if paying by post, or write to them separately if you have made your payment electronically.

National Insurance Contributions Office address

HM Revenue & Customs
National Insurance Contributions and Employer Office
Benton Park View
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE98 1ZZ

Top

What to do if you don't have a payslip

HMRC recommends that you make your payments electronically using one of the methods covered in this guide. If you are paying by post and you don't have a payslip, you should send these details to HMRC with your payment:

  • name
  • address
  • telephone number
  • 18 digit Voluntary Class 3 National Insurance reference (or your National Insurance number if you don't know your reference number)
  • the period (for example month, year or accounting period) for which you are paying
  • the amount of National Insurance you are paying

You should use the contact details described in the Paying voluntary Class 3 National Insurance by post section of this guide.

Paying by post

Top

More useful links

Download information about making voluntary National Insurance contributions

More information on what to do if you have a problem making a payment

Read important notes about HMRC's request for you to pay National Insurance contributions - CA0311 (PDF 59K)

Read about paying National Insurance contributions from abroad - INS13 (PDF 48K)

Top