If you’re new to the self-employed world, you might have some questions about the sort of National Insurance you need to pay. This is your essential guide to your National Insurance obligations as a self-employed freelancer or contractor. We’ll take a look at the difference between Class 2 and Class 4 National Insurance, which should help you determine just what you need to pay.
The class of National Insurance you pay depends on your employment status, and the amount you earn in a given period of time.
What is Class 2 National Insurance?
If you’re self-employed, you’ll either pay Class 2 or Class 4 National Insurance. The class you pay depends on how much you earn from your self-employed work each year. You’ll pay Class 2 National Insurance Contributions if your profits exceed £6,475 a year.
Class 1 National Insurance is for workers under the State Pension age who earn more than £183 a week. A large proportion of UK workers pay Class 1 National Insurance, and it’s up to their employers to deduct the payments from their wages.
How much is Class 2 National Insurance?
How much are Class 2 National Insurance Contributions for self-employed people? They tend to change each tax year. At the time of writing, Class 2 contributions are £3.05 a week.
Do I Have to Pay Class 2 National Insurance?
Some people are exempt from Class 2 National Insurance Contributions:
- If you’re aged 16 or under, or you’re over the State Retirement Age, then you don’t have to pay.
- You’re also exempt if you’re a married woman who opted into the Reduced Rate scheme before 1977.
- Certain roles are exempt from National Insurance Contributions, or they’re subject to different rules. For more information, take a look at the government’s online guidance.
How Do I Pay Class 2 National Insurance?
Most self-employed people pay their National Insurance Contributions through their self-assessment tax returns. This is why you need to register yourself as self-employed. It lets the government know how much to tax you, and how best to collect the money. Head here for our guide to registering yourself as self-employed.
If you’re exempt from National Insurance contributions, you can still make voluntary contributions. Head here for a guide to voluntary National Insurance contributions.
What is Class 4 National Insurance and Do I Need to Pay For It?
You need to make Class 4 National Insurance Contributions if your annual profits exceed £9,501 a year.
You pay Class 4 National Insurance Contributions in the same way as you’d pay Class 2 National Insurance Contributions – either through Self-Assessment, or as a voluntary payment. The big difference is how much you’ll pay. Whereas Class 2 Contributions are charged at a basic rate each year, Class 4 Contributions are charged as a percentage of your profits.
The rate changes with each tax year. At the time of writing, the rate for Class 4 Contributions is 9% on profits between £9,501 and £50,000, and 2% on profits over £50,000.
Your Needs as a Self-Employed Freelancer or Contractor
If you’re new to the world of self-employed work, things might seem a little overwhelming at first. Many things that your employer used to take care of you now have to handle yourself. National Insurance Contributions is just one such thing. But hopefully by now you’ll agree that these things aren’t as complicated as they might initially seem. So long as you take all the necessary steps to register your business, and so long as you keep good records, you shouldn’t have any problems with National Insurance Contributions.
But that said, it’s a good idea to get yourself a safety net. Insurance can provide essential protection against many of the problems that self-employed workers face, from unpaid invoices to tax disputes. Unpaid invoices can compromise your cashflow. We offer specialist insurance policies for freelancers and contractors. We can cover you for many of the additional risks that freelancers and contractors face from as little as 35p a day.