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  • RE: How to Pay Voluntary National Insurance Contributions from Abroad

    First HMRC really must do something about the awful waits and having to listen to horrible looped music interspersed every 20 seconds with that laconic female voice telling us our call is imortant to HMRC and also telling us "just to let you know" that there is lots of info on the HMRC website. I was heartily sick of it after waiting over an hour before the call was answered. Then I found I was dealing with someone whose mind was elsewhere who did not bother to ask for a spelling of my new address even though it is in Scandinavia and she clearly had never heard of the road names and places I gave when she asked and would not have had the slightest clue how to spell them. DO you think you had better check the spelling. ? No I have typed in what you said, but I cannot locate the address. Shall I spell it all for you? Hold on one moment. And she rang off! I called twice more includng the final attempt at just before closing time 6pm. Wonders abound, I was just about to give up and the call was answered and more or less completely so even though it was over half an hour later when we finished. If we start a call before 6pm, we stay until we finish, the wonderful lady said. Anyway, down to the nitty gritty: Another wonderful lady (eventually you get lucky!) in the International Pensions office also in Newcastle or thereabouts had finally managed to tell me in a call what State Pension my 36 full years NIC would get me. £156.86. That's apprently because I was contracted out almost from the year dot in my career! Goodness knows how HMG got away with that scam. Most people who ever had a separate SERPs policy from 1987 onward for example, have long since cashed it in, not having a clue what it was for or that it would affect their eligibility to a full basic state pension. I have a financial service background but I can't explain how they worked out the reductions. For a number of years after HMRC first introduced the concept of the New State Pension, they were giving us false forecasts. Despite trying over many years, my first accurate forecast was obtained 4 months after I reach age 66 - my state pension age. And I had to work hard on the telephone to get it. When I was told, it was simple for the wonderful lady who imparted the news to check and to be 100% certain of wat she freely told me. Why was I never written to to be given that information? Why, before I ventured on this massive post pension age research project, was I only told I could buy back "deficient years" but not told how much I would have to pay, and what difference to New State Pension it would make? Why then did it take two separate calls to different parts of HMRC/DWP to learn these answers and to obtain the letters that confirmed what the wonderful ladies were instantly able to pass on over the phone but were unable to guarantee/confirm until the letters were sent? I work abroad thesedays, so the oft-mentioned CF83 is key, alongwith proof of employment so I can pay the much reduced Class 2 "deficient years" NICs. I gave dates over the phone and received to the nearest penny indications of what I would need to pay. Can I pay now? No we have to receive your CF83 and employment proofs first. Can I email them through the Government Gateway? Er No -- snail mail only at the moment, but electronic transmission of the same form is hoped for later this year. When you pay (but you cannot until we tell you) you will pay into 20-20-48 30944793 and the payment reference will be your NINo suffixed by your surname and then initials. The name of the account is HMRC NIC RECEIPTS. Can you really believe the duplication of effort by us wannabe state pensioners and the HMRC/DWP employees, purely because they are 15 or 20 years behind some other countries in Europe when it comes to reliable centralised digitised records and 100% reliable digital communication both ways? I guess it is one reason I am here paying foreign income tax willingly at much higher levels than Tory or Labour politicians will ever understand ... because here we know what we get for our taxes and are proud to contribute! Plus we don't have to spend hours in a lottery queue just to find out what we should already have been told years ago as soon to be pensioners. I had already decided that because of the COPE reduction to New State Pension, I would probably defer it for a year or two to bump it up a bit with the 5 % odd annual enhancement for deferral. However, I have decided I will defer it just the one year to my 67th birthday because the wonderful lady in the International Pensions office reminded me that even though I choose to defer, and even though there will be a subsequent deferral increase to the pension after it starts as I had planned, they automatically still backdate the claim for up to a year (max) and pay that deferred year out as a lump sum! Anyone else heard of that? And of course those of us abroad claiming our UK new state pension are largely aware that the years we actually can show we worked abroad qualify us for reduced NICs (Class2 instead of 3) which reduces the cost of each year bought back by typically 80%! The mystery to me is that even though I could buy back more years (from before 2016) it is only 2016/17 and more recent "deficient year" buy backs, that affect (increase) the new state pension (by roughly £5 per week or so). So in my case I cannot top up to £203. Closest I can get is £200! Goodness knows how they dreamed up these new rules, or how we let them! Anyway, it seems that until they make CF83 electronically submissible, that's the key document that must be sent by snail mail. Without it we get no confirmation of exactly what to pay to enhance our pensions, even though this thread now states about three times what HMRC account to pay into! Crazy eh? I would caution against just paying what you think "on account" so to speak - my guess is that a proper administrative HMRC mess will ensue if you do! Would be glad to hear otherwise of course. There's nothing more satisfying than forcing the system to our own will!