New 2022 NI codes for freeports and veterans

Published: 2022-02-02
Author: Alex Bartlett

The tax year 2022 sees 5 (yes 5) new NI codes being introduced my HMRC. 4 are to cover NI relief for employees in freeports. The fifth is code V for employees claiming NI relief when employing veterans into their first civilian role.

Existing NI codes

As a quick recap, we already had 7 common NI codes:

  • A - most employees

  • B - Married women and widows who pay reduced NI

  • C - Employees over state pension age

  • H - Apprentices under 25

  • J - Employees who can defer NI as they are paying it in another job

  • M - Employees under 21

  • Z - Employees under 21 who can defer NI

There is also code X for employees who pay no NI (usually as they are under 16).

New NI codes for freeports

If your business is located in a freeport, you can use one of the following codes for new starters from the 6th April 2022, for the first 3 years of their employment.

  • F - most employees, equivalent to A

  • I - Married women/widows reduced NI, equivalent to B

  • S - Employees over state pension age, equivalent to C

  • L - Employees who defer NI, equivalent to J

No employers NI is due on these employees up to the new Freeport Upper Secondary Threshold (FUST) which will start at £25k. This represents a saving to employers of £2,392.95 per year for each new employee paid over £25k.

There are no new codes for young employees (codes M, Z and H) as employers currently pay no NI on these employees below the Upper Earnings Limit (UEL) or £50,270.

New NI code for veterans

Employers will pay zero NI on newly employed veterans up to the UEL for the first year of their employment after leaving the regular armed forces.

To claim this relief use the new NI code V.

The reduced rate is available in any job for the first year. So if your veteran works for someone else for 6 months you can still claim the relief for the first 6 months of their employment with you.

How Shape will help deal with the new codes

Having a total of 13 possible codes is confusing for many employers. We try to make Shape as easy to use as possible so we:

  1. Only allow you to select a valid code based on your employees age and gender. For example we would only allow M and Z for and 18 year old.

  2. Reassess your employees when you pay them and automatically change the NI code if necessary. For example when your code M employee turns 21 we will move them to A and let you know.

From tax year 22-23 we will unlock codes F, I, S and L for companies in a freeport. Employees on these codes will be migrated to the standard codes after their first 3 years of employment.

You will be able to indicate if an employee is a veteran and provide a first employment start date. This will then unlock code V for a year after that date before moving the employee to a standard code.