What is National Insurance (NI)?

National Insurance became law with the introduction of the National Insurance Act 1911.  National Insurance contributions are paid by UK workers and employers in order to fund state benefits such as State Pension and other benefits including the National Health System (NHS).

Who pays National Insurance contributions?

You will pay National Insurance contributions if you are:

  • aged 16 years or older, provided you earn in excess of £166 per week, or,
  • if you are self-employed and make a profit of over £6,365 per annum. 

How is National Insurance collected?

Self-employed individuals will pay their National Insurance contributions partly through a fixed weekly amount (Class 2 NIC) and partly on a percentage of net profits above a certain threshold (Class 4 NIC).  Both Class 2 and Class 4 are collected through Self Assessment.  Employers also pay National Insurance contributions on behalf of their workers.

NI classes

There are different classes for NI.  The class you pay depends on your employment status, on how much you earn, and whether you have any gaps in your National Insurance record.

National Insurance class Who pays
Class 1 Employees earning more than £166 a week and under State Pension age – they’re automatically deducted by your employer
Class 1A or 1B Employers pay these directly on their employee’s expenses or benefits
Class 2 Self-employed people – you do not have to pay if you earn less than £6,365 a year (but you can choose to pay  voluntary contributions)
Class 3 Voluntary contributions – you can pay them to fill or avoid gaps in your National Insurance record
Class 4 Self-employed people earning profits over £8,632 a year

How we can help

Are you on the right code?

The first thing we will check is whether you are paying the correct amount of NI and whether your coding is correct.

How much should you pay?

If you’re employed

If you are employed you will pay Class 1 National Insurance contributions. The rates for most people for the 2019 to 2020 tax year are:

Your pay Class 1 National Insurance rate
£166 to £962 a week (£719 to £4,167 a month) 12%
Over £962 a week (£4,167 a month) 2%

However, you will pay less if:

Tax rates for other years can be viewed here

Help for employers

Employers pay a different rate of NI depending on their employees’ category letters.  However, working out your employer contributions can be confusing.

Our tax teams will ensure you are paying the correct deductions through your payroll and can explain which benefits attract Class 1A NI contributions (NICs).  They will ensure you understand the current legislation so that you always remain compliant. 

Our payroll services

The changes to legislation in the last few years including Real-Time Information and Auto enrolment have made managing payroll much more difficult than it used to be.  Should you be struggling then speak to one of our payroll teams who can advise you on ad-hoc basis or provide you with ongoing support.  Our payroll service has been designed with flexibility in mind.  Simply put, there is an option to suit each client’s needs.  We are on hand to do as much, or as little payroll support as you need.  Details of our payroll service can be viewed here (link to payroll).

Still confused about National Insurance?

Whether you are employed, self-employed or an employer, we can assist you in all areas of national insurance compliance and advise on the scope of national insurance for specific transactions.

Contact your local MFW office for a free initial consultation.

Book a free initial consultation
to see how we can help your business.

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