The introduction of a new Health and Social Care Levy will affect you if you’re an employee, employer, or self-employed.

How much is the healthcare levy?

The health and social care levy will initially be a 1.25% increase to some types of National Insurance (before legislation comes in to make it a separate charge), as well as a 1.25% increase in dividend tax.

Once it becomes a standalone deduction it will be payable by employees who are over State Pension age, unlike NI.

Who is affected by the tax and NI changes, and the new health care levy?

  • Class 1 (Primary) National Insurance, which employees pay

  • Class 1 (Secondary) National Insurance, which employers pay

  • Class 4 National Insurance, payable on self-employed income

  • Dividend tax

The healthcare levy and Class 1 (Primary) National Insurance – Employees

Employees pay Class 1 (primary) National Insurance through their employers. The levy will be deducted from pay in the same way that NI is at the moment.

Employees stop paying NI when they reach State Pension age, but must pay the 1.25% levy from April 2023.

You won’t pay National Insurance once you reach State Pension age, including in 2022/23 when NI temporarily increases to include the levy. Once it becomes a separate charge in April 2023, you’ll pay the levy, but still won’t need to pay NI.

Our table below shows how and when National Insurance and healthcare levy changes will kick in for employees.

2021/22

(6th April 2021 to 5th April 2022)

2022/23

(6th April 2022 to 5th April 2023)

2023/24

(6th April 2023 to 5th April 2024)

Primary Threshold: £9,568

Employees pay NI on earnings above the Primary Threshold up to (and including) the Upper Earnings Limit (£50,270)

12% NI

13.25% NI

12% NI, plus 1.25% levy

Upper Earnings Limit (UEL): £50,270

NI is charged at a different rate on earnings above the Upper Earnings Limit

2% NI

3.25% NI

2% NI, plus 1.25% levy

Example of Class 1 NI and the new levy for employees

You’re eligible to pay NI, and work for an employer who pays you £60,000.

  • In 2021/22 you’ll pay NI at a rate of 12% on your earnings which fall between £9,568 and £50,270, and then 2% on earnings above that.

  • In 2022/23 you’ll pay NI at a rate of 13.25% on earnings which fall between £9,568 and £50,270, and then 3.25% on earnings above that.

  • In 2023/24 you’ll pay NI at a rate of 12% and the 1.25% levy on your earnings which fall between £9,568 and £50,270. You’ll then pay NI at 2%, and the 1.25% levy on earnings above that. Basically, NI returns to the normal rate, and is now separate to the levy.

What the NI changes and levy mean for Class 1 (Secondary) National Insurance – Employers

As an employer you’ll need to deduct your employees’ contributions, and pay them to HMRC alongside your contributions as their employer.

2021/22

(6th April 2021 to 5th April 2022)

2022/23

(6th April 2022 to 5th April 2023)

2023/24

(6th April 2023 to 5th April 2024)

Secondary Threshold: £8,840

Employers pay NICs on what an employee earns above this threshold.

13.8%

15.05%

13.8% NI, plus 1.25% levy

Does the new levy affect the Employment Allowance?

Employers will still benefit from the Employment Allowance. It means that each time you run payroll you’ll pay less employer’s NI, until you use up the £4,000 allowance or start again in a new tax year.

What happens when employees reach State Pension age?

Employers need to update employees’ National Insurance category to ‘C’ once they reach State Pension age. As an employer you’ll continue making NICs for them, but you won’t deduct NI from their pay anymore.

From April 2023, employees will pay the 1.25% levy, even if they’re over State Pension age, so you’ll need to deduct this from their wages.

Class 4 National Insurance – Self-Employed People

The Health and Social Care Levy will also affect Class 4 National Insurance, which is paid by self-employed workers. It won't affect Class 2 NI, or voluntary Class 3 contributions.

  • From April 2022 the rate of Class 4 NI will temporarily increase, because it includes the new levy.

  • From April 2023 the levy and NI become separate, and the rate of Class 4 NI will return to normal.

2021/22

(6th April 2021 to 5th April 2022)

2022/23

(6th April 2022 to 5th April 2023)

2023/24

(6th April 2023 to 5th April 2024)

Lower Profits Limit (LPL): £9,568

Self-employed income above this threshold incurs Class 4 NI.

9%

10.25%

9% NI, plus 1.25% levy

Upper Profits Limit (UPL): £50,270

Self-employed income above this threshold incurs Class 4 NI at a different rate.

2%

3.25%

2% NI, plus 1.25% levy

You won’t pay the levy on any self-employed income below the £9,568 Lower Profits Limit threshold.

What the new Health and Social Care Levy means for dividend tax

The new levy increases the rate payable on taxable dividend payments by 1.25% from April 2022 onwards. Our table below shows the new rate of dividend tax, but remember:

  • You’ll still have the Personal Allowance (the amount you can earn before starting to pay tax)

  • There’s an additional tax-free Dividend Allowance on top of that

  • You don’t pay National Insurance on dividend payments.

2021/22

(6th April 2021 to 5th April 2022)

2022/23

(6th April 2022 to 5th April 2023)

Basic rate taxpayers pay the dividend ordinary rate.

7.5%

8.75%

Higher-rate taxpayers pay the dividend upper rate.

32.5%

33.75%

Additional-rate taxpayers pay the dividend additional rate.

38.1%

39.35%

How do I pay the new levy?

The levy will be administered depending on how you declare and pay NI and dividend tax. In short, the process for paying NI and your dividend tax (and now the new levy) won’t change, but the rates will.

For employers and employees, the levy will be administered through PAYE. Employers deduct the amount from employees’ wages, and pay it on their behalf to HMRC along with their own employer contributions. Self-employed people will pay the levy through their Self Assessment tax return, as will anyone paying the levy along with dividend tax.

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