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HMRC internal manual

Decisions and appeals for National Insurance Contributions and Statutory Payments

Decision types: National Insurance contributions liability decisions: Protecting unpaid National Insurance contributions from becoming barred for recovery

Some decisions give those named in the decision the right of appeal, see DANSP15100.

Issuing a decision showing the National Insurance contributions (NIC) a person is liable to pay does not protect HMRC’s ability to enforce payment, if some or all of them remain unpaid when the decision is made.

If it is within three months of the sixth anniversary of the date any unpaid NIC were due, take action to protect

  • all unpaid NIC, including any NIC not included in the decision, and
  • any interest due on those NIC

from becoming barred for recovery. Inform the person liable to pay the unpaid NIC that you are taking such action. For guidance about protecting NIC debts see the Debt Management Banking Manual and the Compliance Operational Guidance.


No action is required to protect debts in Scotland as the Limitation Act 1980 does not apply in Scotland.

Noting papers to protect unpaid NIC

Disputes, especially, those involving an appeal, can take many months, and in some cases, years to resolve. Where these involve unpaid NIC which will become statute barred for recovery in the future, ensure that three months before the earliest bar date, action is taken to protect

  • all of the NIC shown as due in the decision, even if these include some NIC which were due substantially less than six years ago, and
  • any interest due on those NIC.