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NIC reforms for the self-employed

National insurance contribution (NIC) changes for the self-employed announced in the Autumn Statement come in from 6 April 2024 and will be welcome news. But the reforms don’t go far enough to offset the continuing cost of frozen tax thresholds

20 Dec 2023

By Jane Thackstone

NICs classes

The self-employed currently pay two classes of NICs:

  • Class 2 NICs are at a flat weekly rate, and it is these contributions that give entitlement to contributory benefits, such as the state pension (35 qualifying years being required to receive a full pension). Class 2 NICs are deemed to be paid if profits are between £6,725 and £12,570, and can be paid voluntarily if profits are lower.
  • Class 4 NICs are earnings related. The main rate of 9% is paid on profits between £12,570 and £50,270, with an additional rate of 2% on profits in excess of £50,270.

Class 2 voluntary only

From 6 April 2024, any self-employed person with profits of £6,725 or more will be entitled to contributory benefits without having to pay class 2 NICs – an annual saving of £179 for those who would otherwise have had to pay.

However, those with profits below £6,725, will still have to pay voluntarily if they wish to maintain access to contributory benefits.

Anyone with profits just below £6,725 might decide to forego claiming sufficient expenses to meet the income limit, although the overall tax impact of doing so must be considered.

Class 4 reduced

From the same date, the main rate of class 4 NICs will be reduced from 9% to 8%, representing a maximum annual saving of £377. The additional rate of 2% is unchanged.

There are also no changes to the thresholds of £12,570 and £50,270, although this will be beneficial for anyone with profits in excess of £50,270 – it means no increase to the amount of profits charged at the main rate rather than at the lower additional rate.

HMRC’s guide to voluntary national insurance can be found here.


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