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HMRC internal manual

National Insurance Manual

Class 2 National Insurance contributions from 6 April 2015: Small Earnings Exceptions

Regulation 46 of the Social Security (Contributions) Regulations 2001 (SI 2001 No 1004) [(repealed)]

Regulation 47 of the Social Security (Contributions) Regulations 2001 (SI 2001 No 1004) [(repealed)]

From the 2015 to 2016 tax year, Class 2 NICs will be payable annually through the Self Assessment system. A Class 2 NICs liability will only arise where the self-employed earner has relevant profits of or exceeding the small profits threshold – see NIM70300. Therefore SEE will no longer apply.

Tax years up to and including 2014 to 2015

A person whose net earnings from self-employment were, or were treated as being, less than the Small Earnings Exception (SEE) limit fixed for the relevant tax year could claim exception from liability to pay Class 2 NICs.

Where applicable, applications for SEE refunds could be claimed for the 2014 to 2015 tax year up to 31 January 2016.


If a self-employed contributor has paid Class 2 NICs for the 2014 to 2015 tax year when they satisfy the conditions for Small Earnings Exception (SEE), then a refund of those contributions may be made for that year or any part of that year, subject to the following:

  • refunds can only be made for periods from and including 6 April 2014 to 5 April 2015
  • applications must be made on or before 31 January 2016. This time limit cannot be extended, and
  • applications must be made in writing and evidence of earnings must be provided (it may not always be in a person’s best interests to obtain a refund of Class 2 NICs on the grounds of low earnings and they should be advised about the benefit implications)

If an application is successful:

  • the applicant is excepted from liability for the relevant period
  • a refund of contributions will be made, and
  • a certificate of exception will be issued for the period covered by the refund

If contributory benefits have been paid to the self-employed person or to anyone else based on the original Class 2 NICs, then the amount of the refund should be reduced by the amount of benefit paid.

For more information about Small Earnings Exception, see NIM21000.