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Making voluntary NI payments in order to qualify for Mat Allowance?? Help!

(19 Posts)
LuckyOwl28 Sat 22-Mar-14 16:02:38

So... just had a surprise positive test and we have an 11 month old. Slightly earlier than planned, but happy.

Since my maternity leave ended we have since moved house and I have become an ambassador of a franchise selling children's books.
I think I have just about broken even, so not making much of a profit at all.

It would be a massive help to get mat allowance payments but as I'm currently not paying national insurance I understand that I wouldn't qualify.

I think I've heard that you can make voluntary NI payments, does anyone know more?

TIA smile

natenewt Sat 22-Mar-14 16:04:41

I think you must pay at least 6 months of voluntary contributions before a certain point in you pregnancy.

LuckyOwl28 Sat 22-Mar-14 16:14:08

Right thanks for that.
Think I'm going to call on Monday for proper clarification, it just seems so long away!
My husband's family are here for the weekend so trying to avoid eye contact as feel it's too early to tell anyone (I'm only about 4 weeks!)

natenewt Sat 22-Mar-14 16:15:16

Have a look on here. It's worth trying to claim if you won't be entitled to smp. You can print the forms off and fill them in. The earliest you can send them off is when you are 26 weeks pregnant.

natenewt Sat 22-Mar-14 16:15:41

Sorry forgot the link https://www.gov.uk/maternity-allowance

natenewt Sat 22-Mar-14 16:17:44

Oh, and congratulations smile

CrispyFB Sat 22-Mar-14 18:01:14

Make sure you don't have a small earnings exemption certificate as that drastically reduces the amount you can claim. Was there a reason you weren't paying class 2s as you're liable for them unless you have the certificate.. so if you have it dump it asap!!

You don't need to be making a profit at all to claim MA if you're self-employed. Trust me on this grin

LuckyOwl28 Sat 22-Mar-14 18:13:56

I definitely don't have a certificate... only became self-employed recently so this is all new to me! What qualifies you for the certificate?
Sorry what is Class 2s?
Thanks everyone for your help!

gunwalloe Sat 22-Mar-14 18:24:28

I was told you had to pay 13 weeks to qualify if your newly pregnant you should have time phone HMRC on Monday and ask to start paying NI class 2 contributions. How long ago did you tell HMRC you were self employed?

gunwalloe Sat 22-Mar-14 18:34:58

This thread helped me when I was looking into it

http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/pregnancy/a1973499-Are-you-self-employed-maternity-allowance

CrispyFB Sat 22-Mar-14 20:10:30

The class 2s are the type of National Insurance payments you have to make if you are self employed - they're different to the ones you'd make if you were employed, say. It's just a few pounds a week I think, nothing like the massive sums you pay when employed.

To get the certificate you need to earn under a certain amount in a year - can't remember the exact amount but it's a few thousand. It saves you paying those few pounds a week. Obviously it's a false economy if you're a woman planning on claiming maternity allowance at some point in the future, but the government cunningly neglects to point that out anywhere until you go claim angry So don't, whatever you do, get that certificate!

You do need 13 weeks of contributions, and also to have worked 26 weeks in 66 weeks or something (can't remember off the top of my head) by your due date. You should have enough time to sort everything out!

I was under the impression every self-employed person had to pay class 2 national insurance contributions unless they have the stupid certificate. You get billed six monthly by HMRC so it may well simply be you just haven't had a bill yet which is why you didn't know about it.

I recommend giving them a call!

LuckyOwl28 Sat 22-Mar-14 21:37:14

Wow, thanks so much for the tip off about the exemption certificate!

I became self-employed in October (a franchise selling children's books), and at the moment the only way I have notified them is by completing a child tax credit form in which I stated my new circumstances. Is this enough?
So if it's every 6 months I'm billed should be around now?

I still can't quite believe it to be honest. confused

gunwalloe Sat 22-Mar-14 21:43:56

You need to register as self employed with HMRC information here
http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/selfemployed/
make sure you tell them the business started in October

LuckyOwl28 Sat 22-Mar-14 22:27:07

Thanks, I'm so useless and baby brain hasn't even kicked in yet!

CrispyFB Sat 22-Mar-14 22:31:55

Yes, you need to register! And within 3 months too, whoops.. I don't think the child tax thing counts, so they won't know to bill you for the class 2s. Definitely give them a call on Monday.

Have a look here: www.freelanceuk.com/news/3270.shtml - this suggests you may get a £100 fine if it is up to date. I could find nothing on the official HMRC pages which does not surprise me in the slightest as they are absolutely useless for real, practical and unambiguous information.

If you didn't make any money until three months ago you may be able to fudge your dates a little, but only you know the exact circumstances.

It's a shame the company that has the franchise did not give you more information about registering as self employed. It's one of those things that if you don't know about it, you don't always know to ask about it either. I set up my own business but I knew about self-employment as my father had a business. Not everybody has that kind of knowledge!

I forgot to say - congratulations!!

natenewt Sun 23-Mar-14 08:00:56

Crispy has great advice. That's where I got the 6 month idea from I think. Yes you need to have worked for 6 months. 13 weeks of payments is something I didn't know, I assumed you had to pay for the 6 months too. I've just had my claim awarded, so it's fresh in my mind, but it's all so confusing. It's almost as if they just expect you to 'know' what you're doing!
Good luck anyway, hope you get it all sorted.

LuckyOwl28 Sun 23-Mar-14 15:04:13

Oh my God, have no idea why my Team Leader wouldn't have told me this. Before signing up I remember asking about my employment status and income paperwork and I was under the impression it was sometime in April I would be expected to complete a self assessment form.

I haven't actually 'made' anything so far, as have spent out a lot on stock, stall events and marketing materials etc. I would definitely qualify for an exemption certificate - can I refuse one or do they automatically send one ? Will not be happy with a £100 fine either, last thing I need....

So with all this being said, do you think if I register now I will still qualify for MA? I do plan to call first thing tomorrow morning but just trying to put my mind at rest!

Thanks so much for all your help smile

CrispyFB Sun 23-Mar-14 20:27:40

HMRC class self-employment as "Available for work". I can't remember the specifics, but if you weren't in a position to take money, then you could argue you weren't self-employed until the point that you were open for business if you see what I mean. Maybe call them and ask? Most of the time they're pretty reasonable, especially as it's a genuine oversight as nobody told you sad

As regards self-assessment, basically you need to fill in a form that covers, say, April 2013 to April 2014 BY January 2015. So you could do it in April, but the vast majority of people procrastinate and end up doing it late January blush Word of advice - Make sure you register for self-assessment as early as possible even if you don't fill out the form any time soon because it can take several weeks to get username/passwords etc for self assessment sorted out.

They won't automatically send you an exemption certificate, you have to specifically ask for it. A well-meaning advisor MAY offer it to you, but obviously you'll want to decline it at this point. Nobody ever told me it could affect maternity allowance, even their official website doesn't make it clear at all (at best it is ambiguous, at worst it suggests no problem at all) and I found out the hard way. Thankfully I managed to do a bit of perfectly legal date fudging to get my 13 weeks uncovered by a certificate in.

You should have plenty of time to get the six months of work time in you need. And especially if you were still employed (I actually have NO idea if your previous maternity leave counts as employment.. maybe?) in the 66 weeks before your new due date.

Good luck and keep us updated with what they say tomorrow! There can never be too much information around on this frustratingly complicated subject grin

LuckyOwl28 Sun 23-Mar-14 20:40:50

Crispy you have been a godsend, thanks so much!

I will definitely update this post tomorrow once I've had a chat with HMRC. I feel a lot calmer than I did earlier, so thanks for that!

grin

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