How to pay your voluntary Class 3 National Insurance bill

6 mins

Our experts at DSR Tax Refunds know how hard it is to find good, quality information about HMRC’s National Insurance rules and regulations that is easy to understand, and that’s why we have created these handy guides to tell you everything you need to know. Our aim is to make life easier for our clients and that is why we want to share our expertise with you. You can also call our friendly team on 0330 122 9972 – we’re the tax experts you can trust.

What is Class 3 National Insurance?

You can choose to make voluntary National Insurance contributions (known as Class 3 National Insurance contributions) to fill in any gaps you may have in your National Insurance record as well as make sure you qualify for certain contributions-based benefits, including your State Pension. You don’t have to make these payments – these are payments you choose to make.

To find out whether you can make any voluntary contributions, you can write to HMRC asking them to check your National Insurance record. If there are any gaps, HMRC will write to you to tell you if you can make voluntary contributions, and if so, how much you should pay.

You can pay your voluntary contributions monthly by Direct Debit and this is HMRC’s preferred method. If this doesn’t work for you, you can contact HMRC if you would rather pay by a different method. If this is the case, they will send you a bill every July, October, January and April. As with compulsory contributions, you need to pay by the deadline. How long it takes for the payment to reach HMRC depends on the payment method you use. The timescales are as follows:

If the payment date happens to be a weekend or bank holiday, your payment needs to reach HMRC on the last working day before then, unless you are using Faster Payments as these are credited to your account in real time.

You can also make one-off payments to HMRC using any of the payment methods except Direct Debit.

How do you pay by Direct Debit?

You need to set up a Direct Debit with HMRC before you are able to use this as a payment method by filling in HMRC form CA5603, which allows you to pay your voluntary Class 3 contributions by Direct Debit.

HMRC will write to you within 21 days to confirm that your Direct Debit has been set up. The payments will appear on your bank statement as ‘HMRC NI-DD’.

These Direct Debit payments usually start in May, so if you are setting up your Direct Debit after May and you need to pay any arrears, these will usually be paid in your first payment.

What are the bank details for Class 3 National Insurance payments?

If you are paying from the UK, using online or telephone banking, CHAPS or Bacs, you need to use the following HMRC bank details to make your payment:

Sort code

Account number

Account name

08 32 20


HMRC NICO Telephone banking

You will need to use the 18-digit reference number shown on the payment request from HMRC as your reference number – make sure you don’t leave any spaces between the digits because it is really important that your payment gets credited to the correct account (i.e yours). If you use the wrong number, your payment will be delayed while HMRC investigate where it is supposed to go and that could lead to you receiving a penalty.

If your payments are quarterly, your reference number will begin with ‘11’ and end with ‘X’. For one-off payments, the reference number will begin with ‘60’ and end with ‘X’.

If you use Faster Payments (by either online or telephone banking), your payment will reach HMRC either on that same day or the next day (including bank holidays and weekends). If you use CHAPS, it will reach HMRC on the same working day as long as you made the payment during your bank’s usual processing hours. Bacs payments will take 3 working days.

HMRC recommend that you check your banks processing times and transaction limits (that is, the amount of money you are allowed to send at any one time) before making your payment.

If you are making a payment from overseas, the HMRC account you use depends on whether you use a UK or non-UK account. The details are as follows:

Account type

Sort Code

Account number


20 20 48


If it is a non-UK account, use the following HMRC account details:

Account type

Account Number (IBAN)

Bank Identifier Code (BIC)




The account name for both of these accounts is ‘GBS Re NICO Receipts HMRC.

If you are paying from an overseas account, the payment reference number is your National Insurance number, followed by ‘IC’, followed by your surname then your initial. So, for example, if your name is Fred Bloggs, you would write the reference as QQ123456AICBLOGGSF.

If you are an employer paying for an overseas employee, you would use your 13-character employer number.

The banking address for HMRC is:

Barclays Bank
1 Churchill Place
E14 5HP

How do you pay at your bank or building society?
You can pay at a bank or building society branch as long as you have your HMRC payslip – this will be on the payment request from HMRC. Without this payslip, you can’t pay by this method.
You can pay by cash or cheque at a bank or building society. If you are paying by cheque, you need to make the payable to ‘HM Revenue and Customs only’ and follow this with your Class 3 National Insurance reference number. Again, this will be on the payslip or payment request that HMRC send to you.
If you pay between Monday and Friday, HMRC will accept the date of payment as the day you actually make the payment rather than the day it reaches HMRC’s account.
Can you pay at the post office?
HMRC are withdrawing the facility to pay them at a Post Office from 15th December 2017 – after this date, you will have to find another method of paying your National Insurance bill (as well as your Self Assessment bill if that applies to you).
How do you pay by cheque through the post?

You can still send a cheque to HMRC through the post although you must remember to include your HMRC payslip with your cheque. Your payslip will be with the payment request from HMRC.

You need to make your cheque payable to ‘HM Revenue and Customs only’ followed by your Class 3 National Insurance reference number, which is also shown on your payslip.

Your cheque and payslip shouldn’t be folded together or fastened with a paperclip or stapler.

Your cheque and payslip should be sent to:

HM Revenue and Customs

National Insurance Contributions and Employer Office

Benton Park View

Newcastle upon Tyne

NE98 1ZZ

Make sure you allow 3 working days for your payment to reach HMRC – if you don’t leave enough time, it may arrive late. If you want a receipt, make sure you include a note asking for one because HMRC don’t automatically send payment receipts unless requested to do so.

If you don’t have a payslip for some reason, you can still pay by cheque as long as you include a note which includes the following details:

How can DSR Tax Refunds help?

We know that making payments to HMRC can be a complicated affair, even with our helpful guide to tell you everything you might need to know. It’s all very well reading about it and knowing what HMRC’s stand on it is – but how do you apply that to your own circumstances? It can seem like an absolute minefield but help is always available and you don’t need to battle through this alone. Our team of experts at DSR Tax Refunds are always on hand to help our clients and our excellent standing with HMRC means that we can make sure you don’t fall foul of their regulations, while claiming your maximum tax relief. We can even take care of all that paperwork and deal with HMRC on your behalf too. Call our friendly team on 0330 122 9972 – we’re the tax experts you can trust.

This page was last updated on 25/10/2018.

Call our experts

Let’s get started on your tax rebate or self-assessment return

You May Also Be Interested In

Our experts have collected an extensive range of handy informational resources across a number of common taxation areas. If you can’t find what you are looking for here, check out our Resources section.