We have a client who was self-employed but stopped four years ago. He receives a private pension and is 64 years old. He also receives dividends. He has a gap of four years in his state pension contributions, which HMRC have stated he can make up as class 2 National Insurance contributions (NICs). Going forward, should he pay class 2 or 3 NICs voluntarily? My understanding is that he can't pay class 2 NICs as he's not self-employed.
Arthur Weller replies:
If you look at HMRC’s National Insurance manual (at www.gov.uk/hmrc-internal-manuals/national-insurance-manual/nim23501) you can see that (excluding someone who works abroad) to be able to pay Class 2 NICs voluntarily, a person needs to have been granted a small earnings exception (SEE). However, your client doesn't fall into this category. So the best option would be to pay Class 3 NICs.