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Class 2 National Insurance contributions

If you're self-employed you normally have to pay Class 2 National Insurance contributions. This guide explains how much you pay and the circumstances when you may be exempt from paying. To find out about your wider tax and National Insurance responsibilities when you're self-employed, read the related guide 'Self-employed tax and National Insurance' - you'll find the link under 'Further information' at the end of the page.

On this page:

Class 2 National Insurance - how much you pay

You pay Class 2 National Insurance contributions at a flat rate of £2.75 a week. However, if your earnings are below £5,885 per year (2014 to 2015) you might not need to pay - see 'Exceptions to paying Class 2 National Insurance contributions' below.

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Class 2 National Insurance contributions and state benefits

Class 2 contributions count towards certain benefits, like the basic State Pension, Maternity Allowance and Bereavement Benefit. But any claims for benefits may be affected if your payments are late.

Class 2 contributions do not normally count towards the additional State Pension, Statutory Sick Pay, Jobseeker's Allowance or Employment Support Allowance, so you might want to think about making other arrangements like a personal pension and income protection insurance.

If you're a share fisherman

If you're a share fisherman paying Class 2 National Insurance contributions at the share fishermen rate, your contributions count towards Jobseeker's Allowance. The share fisherman rate of Class 2 contributions is £3.40 a week (2014 to 2015).

National Insurance and state benefits

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Register for Class 2 National Insurance contributions

You can register for Class 2 National Insurance contributions when you register for business taxes with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) - find out how to do this by following the first link below.

Register your business for HMRC taxes

Read the leaflet SE1 'Thinking of working for yourself?' (PDF 224K)

If you're already self-employed

If you are already self-employed and need to register for Class 2 National Insurance contributions, call the Newly Self-employed Helpline by following the link below.

Newly Self-employed Helpline

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Paying Class 2 National Insurance contributions

Once registered, you can choose to make your payments either monthly or 6 monthly by Direct Debit. From April 2011 your Class 2 National Insurance contributions payments will become due on the 31 January and 31 July, the same dates as Self Assessment tax bill. Follow the link below to find out more about payment dates.

During periods when you are unable to work and where you have registered your work status with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), HMRC will be notified. They'll adjust the amount of Class 2 contributions due for those periods.

How to pay self-employed Class 2 National Insurance contributions

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Exceptions to paying Class 2 National Insurance contributions

You don't have to pay Class 2 National Insurance contributions if any of the following apply:

  • you are under 16
  • for any periods after you have reached State Pension age
  • you're a married woman or widow who is entitled to pay reduced rate contributions
  • your earnings are below a certain level - see 'If you have low earnings' below
  • for complete weeks when you could not work if certain conditions are met - see 'Class 2 National Insurance credits if you could not work' below

Making sure you've stopped paying National Insurance contributions when you've reached State Pension age

Married women and reduced rate National Insurance

If you have low earnings

If you earn less than £5,885 per year you can apply for a Certificate of Small Earnings Exception and not pay Class 2 National Insurance contributions. However, you might decide to carry on paying them voluntarily to keep your entitlement to the State Pension and other benefits.

Go to form CF10 Self-employed people with small earnings and help notes

Voluntary National Insurance contributions - the basics

Class 2 National Insurance credits if you could not work

You don't have to pay Class 2 National Insurance contributions for any complete week when you can't work due to illness or you're caring for someone and are receiving certain benefits, but you may be able to get National Insurance credits instead. Credits can help maintain your National Insurance record and so protect your entitlement to the basic State Pension and certain other state benefits.

National Insurance credits

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Further information

Self-employed tax and National Insurance

Employed and self-employed tax and National Insurance

Class 4 National Insurance contributions

Claiming back overpaid National Insurance contributions

National Insurance rates and allowances

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