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HMRC internal manual

National Insurance Manual

Special Cases: Married Women: Position from 6 April 1975 to 5 April 1977

Regulations 129 & 134 to 137, SS(C)R 2001

Social Security Act 1975

The Social Security Act 1975 gave a married woman the right to elect to pay Class 1 contributions at a reduced rate from a specified tax year and not to pay Class 2 contributions from a specified year if she became self-employed. The election lasted for the whole tax year for which it was made and continued until the woman cancelled it or changed her marital status.

Regulations under the Act also laid down that:

  • from the beginning of the tax year after a married woman’s fifty-ninth birthday, Class 1 contributions were payable at the reduced rate and Class 2 contributions were not payable;
  • a married woman over sixty was not liable to pay contributions if she was retired or treated as retired or unable to qualify for a pension on her own contributions;
  • a married woman with an election, or deemed election, to pay reduced rate contributions was not allowed to pay voluntary Class 3 contributions; and
  • the election of a woman who divorced and re-married in the same tax year continued into the new marriage unless she cancelled the election.

Deemed elections

A married woman was deemed to have made an election under the Social Security Act 1975 if, on 5 April 1975:

  • she had an election not to pay flat rate contributions, shown on the record sheet, form RF1, as MW1/NP (see NIM30018); or
  • was self-employed and had not elected to pay Class 2 contributions, sometimes shown on the record sheet as MW2/NP (see NIM30018).

‘Treat as MW3/NP’

‘Treat as MW3/NP’ (see NIM30018) on a record sheet is not an election. It is simply a notation to indicate that the woman was not employed and no Class 3 contributions were being paid. It was an administrative procedure, the woman never having formally made an election.

Deemed elections for women self-employed on 5 April 1975

If a woman was self-employed on 5 April 1975, treat her as having a deemed election if ‘MW 2/3’ (see NIM30018) is shown on the record sheet or there is nothing about the payment of self-employed contributions on the record sheet.

Class 2 contributions paid before 6 April 1975 but no election made

If a married woman paid Class 2 contributions before 6 April 1975, but did not make a formal election to do so, the contributions were accepted and her record sheet was noted ‘Treat as MW 2/P’ (see NIM30018). Under these circumstances, the woman is deemed to have made an election to pay under the Social Security Act 1975.

For further historical information about married womens’ elections, see NIM30019 onwards.