Class 2 NIC and the Self Employed

Jul. 4, 2017, 1:45pm

Class 2 NIC and the Self-employed

If you are a self-employed earner then the chances are, you are also liable to pay Class 2 National Insurance contributions. 

There have been a number of changes in the last couple of years for Class 2 National Insurance. In this blog we consider what happens when a self employed earner, liable to Class 2 NIC incurs a trading loss in the 2016/17 tax year which is carried back to 2015/16.  What effect does this have on the Class 2 NIC of 2015/16?

Until 5 April 2015, every ‘self-employed earner’ was, if he was over the age of 16 and under pensionable age, liable to pay Class 2 contributions at a prescribed weekly rate.

From 6 April 2015, this liability has applied only to earners with relevant profits from a trade, profession or vocation of, or exceeding, a small profits threshold, set initially at £5,965 for 2015–16 and unchanged for 2016–17.

The term ‘self-employed earner’ is anyone who derives remuneration or profit from an ’employment’, a term which includes any trade, business, profession, office or vocation.

Before 6 April 2015, this was enough to create a Class 2 liability in respect of any unincorporated business (subject to a claim for small earnings exception), but from that date liability is limited to cases where there is income ie. ‘relevant income’ at least equal to the new small profits threshold from a trade, profession or vocation, ie, the same basic definition of the source as is used for Class 4, albeit with a different starting threshold.

Those classed as self-employed earners who do not have trading profits now have no liability to pay Class 2 contributions and the charge is now limited to those with ‘relevant profits’ above the small profits threshold. They do, however, have the right to do so in order to protect their benefit entitlements.  The earner may pay the same level of Class 2 contribution as a trader (with sufficient annual profits to create a compulsory liability) in respect of any week in the relevant tax year in which the earner is in the ’employment’. This enables both traders with low profits or losses and non-traders with business income to maintain their entitlement to the state pension and contributory short-term employment and support allowance.

Therefore, in this instance, if the loss is carried back to the previous year the profits for Class 2 are reduced and as such the liability to Class 2 is removed.

If you have a tax query, why not contact us to discuss it. Our team has a wealth of experience and would love to hear from you.

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