National Insurance contribution category M GNS messages

02 June 2021

HMRC is currently working to raise awareness of the National Insurance (NI) category M, which applies to employees who are below the age of 21.

Introduced in tax year 2015-16, category M means that employers will pay reduced employer Class 1 secondary NI contributions for the employees that the category is applied to.

To ensure that the category is being applied correctly, HMRC started usng Generic Notification Service (GNS) messages from April 2021, to advise employers where data seemed to imply that they may have incorrectly applied category M to one or more of their payroll records. It is hoped that the GNS messages will prompt employers to carry out additional checks and make corrections as and where required.

At the point that an employee turns 21, NI category M can no longer be applied to their record. A new NI contribution category will need to be assigned, and what that will be will depend on the status of the employee.

This was confirmed in the April 2021 Employer Bulletin.


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