Skip to main content
Table with paperwork, pen and calculator
4 min read

National Insurance contributions

Learn about different types of National Insurance contributions (NICs), how to find out how much you’ve paid and when you can claim National Insurance credits.

What are National Insurance contributions?

National Insurance is the UK tax system into which employees and employers pay National Insurance contributions (NICs). National Insurance pays for state benefits, which provide those who qualify with an income if they’re sick, injured or unemployed. National Insurance contributions (NICs) fund the state pension, which can be claimed when people reach statutory retirement age.

The class of National Insurance contribution (NIC) that you pay is determined by your employment status, how much you earn and whether there are any gaps in your National Insurance record (see section 4).

For 2022/23, you’ll pay National Insurance if you’re more than 16 years old and either:

  • an employee earning more than £190 a week or
  • self-employed and generating a profit of £6,725 or more a year.

What types of National Insurance contributions (NICs) are there?

The different classes for National Insurance can make it complicated to understand. All figures below refer to the 2022/23 tax year. 

  • Class 1 NICs
    Employees below state pension age earning more than £190 a week pay these. Employers deduct them automatically from earnings before paying their staff.
  • Class 1A or 1B NICs    
    These are payable by employers for expenses or benefits given to their employees.
  • Class 2 NICs
    Self-employed people who earn more than £6,725 a year must pay these, but you can choose to pay voluntary contributions if you earn less.
  • Class 3 NICs  
    These are voluntary contributions you can pay to cover or avoid gaps in your National Insurance record.
  • Class 4 NICs
    Self-employed people earning profits of more than £9,881 a year pay these.

What are the current National Insurance contribution (NIC) rates?

Assuming that the employee has the National Insurance category letter A (as most do), the Class 1 National Insurance contributions (NICs) due for the 2022/23 tax year is:

  • 12% if they earn £190-£967 a week (or £823-£4,189 a month)
  • 2% over £967 a week (or £4,189 a month).

(Note: these rates were lifted by 1.25% to 13.25% and 3.25% respectively on 6 April 2022, but have gone back to the previous level since 6 November 2022)

Payments are lower for married women or widows with a valid ‘certificate of election’ or for those who defer National Insurance because they have more than one job.

Employers also pay towards employees’ National Insurance. However, for the 2022/23 tax year, if an employee (with NI category letter A) earns £123-£175 a week (or £533-£758 a month), their employer does not have to pay anything. However, they must pay 13.8% on earnings above £190 a week (£823 a month).

Employers pay Class 1A and 1B National Insurance contributions (NICs) on expenses and benefits they give to their employees. The rate for the 2022/23 tax year is 14.53%.

If you’re self-employed and earn profits of £6,725 or more a year, you must pay Class 2 National Insurance contributions (NICs) of £3.15 a week.

If your profits are £11,908 or more a year, you will pay Class 4 National Insurance contributions (NICs) of:

  • 9.73% on profits between £11,909 and £50,270
  • 2.73% on profits over £50,270

Sole traders pay Class 2 and Class 4 National Insurance contributions (NICs).

Use our calculator to find out about National Insurance Contributions for the current tax year

How do I pay National Insurance contributions (NICs)?

Employers deduct Class 1 National Insurance contributions (NICs) directly from staff earnings before paying their wages. They must pay them to HMRC.

Once a year, in one amount, employers pay HMRC Class 1A or 1B National Insurance contributions (NICs) on any expenses or benefits given to employees.

Most self-employed people pay their Class 2 and Class 4 National Insurance contributions (NICs) through Self Assessment.

There are many ways to pay Class 3 National Insurance contributions (ie voluntary contributions to cover NI record gaps) including:

  • monthly Direct Debit
  • quarterly bill with an online payment or telephone banking
  • in person at your bank
  • Bacs
  • cheque sent by post to HMRC.

Company directors are classed as employees and pay National Insurance contributions (NICs) on salary and bonuses over £9,500. Contributions are worked out from annual earnings rather than earnings in each pay period.

What are National Insurance credits?

If you’re not receiving a wage because you’re ill or you’re unemployed and therefore cannot pay National Insurance contributions (NICs) in either case, you may be able to get National Insurance credits.

National Insurance credits can fill gaps in your National Insurance contributions record and therefore enable you to claim certain benefits if you’re just short of qualification requirements. 

If you’re eligible, there are two types of National Insurance credits:

  • Class 1 – which count towards your state pension and can enable you to claim other benefits (eg contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance) and
  • Class 3 – which only count towards your state pension.

You can visit government website to find out if you’re eligible for National Insurance credits (if you don’t get them automatically, you’ll have to apply for them). You can also check your National Insurance record to find out if you have any National Insurance credits.

You can also find out if your National Insurance record has any gaps online. Alternatively, you can telephone 0300 200 3500 (Monday to Friday: 8am to 8pm; Saturday: 8am to 4pm) to discuss gaps in your National Insurance contributions. Make sure you know your National Insurance number.

End of Article
Share this content
Revolut logo

Brought to you by:

Revolut Business

Revolut Business is the one platform for all your business finance needs. Enjoy a business account that’s a joy to use – with low fees, total transparency, and easy admin at any scale. 

Visit Revolut's website

Register with Informi today:

  • Join over 30,000 like-minded business professionals.
  • Create your own personalised account with curated reading lists and checklists.
  • Access exclusive resources including business plans, templates, and tax calculators.
  • Receive the latest business advice and insights from Informi.
  • Join in the discussion through the comments section.