In Louise Willmott v HMRC [2019] TC6789, it was held that class 1 national insurance contributions from two associated employments could be aggregated, and class 3 contributions could be paid after the usual time limit.

  • Ms Willmott's pension statement indicated she would receive much less state pension than she expected.
  • There were many years when she had insufficient National Insurance contributions (NICs) and
  • HMRC refused to allow her to amalgamate her employments or to make late class 3 contributions.

She appealed to the first tier tribunal (FTT) on two grounds:

  • For some of the years she had two jobs which were treated separately.
  • She was entitled to pay class 3 after the usual six-year time limit.

The FTT found that evidence suggested her were with associated employers. They should be aggregated, which tipped her earning above the lower earnings limits.

Although HMRC said it had sent her deficiency notices, it could not produce any. On the facts of this case, she had shown “due care and diligence”.

Her appeal succeeded.

Comment

This is the latest in a series of hearings where a person finds that he or she does not have a full contribution record. Such hearings are a matter of evidence which can be hard for either HMRC or the individual to produce. HMRC and its predecessor bodies threw away the forms and entered them in their records, some of which could go back 50 years. Standards of record-keeping in past decades were often much lower than today.

Those records can be challenged though the onus of proof is high. The individual needs to find adequate records, have credible explanations for their behaviour and be persistent. This case is a rare win for the individual.

Links to our guides:

National insurance : what’s the maximum amount payable? 

Record keeping & tax: what, how and until when?

Pensions: tax rules and planning

External links: 

Louise Willmott v HMRC [2019] TC6789 

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