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  • FIRST POST
    • DairyQueen
    • By DairyQueen 31st Mar 18, 12:09 AM
    • 227Posts
    • 377Thanks
    DairyQueen
    SP Forecast Not adding Up
    • #1
    • 31st Mar 18, 12:09 AM
    SP Forecast Not adding Up 31st Mar 18 at 12:09 AM
    I just checked my SP forecast and it doesn't seem to add up.

    Forecast = 159.55
    Estimate to 5/4/17 = 141.31
    Forecast if you contribute another 5 years = 159.55.

    I checked my NI record and the 31 years excludes one year still under investigation.

    If the current max of 159.55 assumes 35 years of contributions then I calculate I am short 4 years of contributions, not 5.

    Could a kind person please check my math and advise if I am having a late-night mental block, or whether the forecast is wrong?

    Many thanks for your help.
Page 2
    • molerat
    • By molerat 11th Apr 18, 3:09 PM
    • 18,365 Posts
    • 12,537 Thanks
    molerat
    From other people's postings here a year that is under investigation seems to throw a spanner in the cogs of the DWP/HMRC calculator.
    www.helpforheroes.org.uk/donations.html
    • DairyQueen
    • By DairyQueen 11th Apr 18, 4:32 PM
    • 227 Posts
    • 377 Thanks
    DairyQueen
    Sorry, but as I said before, your original discrepancy (if caused by calculating using 4.5585 rather than 4.56) IS NOT A ROUNDING ERROR.

    There is NO error. If anything, it is more correct. They are doing exactly what they said they would do on the tin (please re-read the quote I copied-out in my last post: #16)

    I think you are getting confused because you are trying to tackle too many issues at once. I am not talking about your multitude of discrepancies with your employment history, I am only addressing your original query at the start of this thread.

    It was very straightforward. You and I both calculated that you should have had to pay 4 more years for a full SP (State Pension) if 4.56 was used in the calculation. But, your SPF (State Pension Forecast) said that you needed 5 more years.

    That was a few days ago, & we are now in a new financial year. To be clear, please confirm that your new SPF now says that you need 4 more years for the maximum SP, but if calculated using 4.70, it works out at 3 years.

    In your post (copied & pasted immediately above) you still seem to be quoting last year's financial figures ("5 years needed from Apr 2017"). Is that because your SPF has not yet updated itself to include the new maximum SP? (Mine has.)

    Let's start by getting and using the new figures, because you appear to be bringing too many different issues into the mix, and getting into a muddle.

    Even if your original discrepancy is still there (I.e. on your SPF showing the new financial year's figures), I do not believe that it is an error. You have NOT been deprived of a year. All it means is that, instead of getting the full NSP (New State Pension), you will get 1p less. That is not a big deal.

    You can, of course, pay 700 odd, for the final year, and get the full NSP, but it would not be cost effective. It would, in effect, be paying over 700 for an extra 1p a week, or 52p a year. Even if you lived for another 50 years, you would only have received, in today's money, 26 extra.

    If I have got any of the above wrong, I am sure someone will correct me. You should also, of course, keep thrashing it out with HMRC just to be sure I have not got it all wrong (I am far from being an expert).
    Originally posted by Simple Soul
    I think my cogs are well-and-truly spannered.

    Thank you for helping. You are correct that I am trying to resolve multiple NI discrepancies and this is definitely causing confusion.

    I appreciate that the figures you mention are accurate to the penny. I think my confusion arose from the previous discrepancy between the number of years (five) stated as required on the projection versus the number stated as accrued (31) on my NI record.

    I have just checked the figures and, yes, it has now been updated.

    Summary reads:
    Forecast: 164.35
    Estimate based on NI record up to Apr 17 = 145.57 per week
    Forecast if you contribute another four years = 164.35

    Viewing my NI record:
    31 years of full contributions
    1 year being checked
    17/18 not yet available

    So, you are correct. Sorry to test your patience but this reconciliation has been a long and time-consuming process and I have yet to to see a resolution.

    I therefore believe that, once credited with the year 'being checked' and 17/18, I will be short 2 years of contributions from Apr 2018.

    Hopefully, I haven't completely lost the plot.

    Thanks to all those who posted.
    • Simple Soul
    • By Simple Soul 12th Apr 18, 6:50 AM
    • 35 Posts
    • 18 Thanks
    Simple Soul
    I have just checked the figures and, yes, it has now been updated.

    Summary reads:
    Forecast: 164.35
    Estimate based on NI record up to Apr 17 = 145.57 per week
    Forecast if you contribute another four years = 164.35

    Viewing my NI record:
    31 years of full contributions
    1 year being checked
    17/18 not yet available

    I therefore believe that, once credited with the year 'being checked' and 17/18, I will be short 2 years of contributions from Apr 2018.
    Originally posted by DairyQueen
    Your discrepancy (as described in your first post) has resolved itself, because the amount of SP you have already earned up to 5/4/2017, has now been enhanced by 3% (for inflation) and, as a result, there is no longer a significant disparity created when using the quotient (of max SP 35 years) to 2 decimal places, compared with using it to 3 or 4 decimal places.

    So you can now forget about that discrepancy.

    You are correct in saying that, when the figures for 2017/18 are uploaded, and if you get credited for the investigated year (& it counts as a qualifying year) you will then have just 2 more years to go to get the max SP.
    Furthermore, your updated SPF will actually say as much (as opposed to saying that you will need one year more than that, to reach the max).

    However, if the discrepancy arises again in future years, you will know the cause. And know that there is nothing to worry about, because all it will mean is that you will get 1p less than the max SP, if you contribute for one year less than they suggest that you need to.
    It will not be that they have made a mistake, it is just that their algorithm uses more precise figures (i.e calculated to more than 2 decimal places).

    I think I probably contributed to your confusion, by first saying the discrepancy would resolve itself when the new max SP came into play, but later second-guessed myself and said that it might not.
    Sorry about that.
    Last edited by Simple Soul; 12-04-2018 at 7:09 AM.
    • DairyQueen
    • By DairyQueen 12th Apr 18, 6:43 PM
    • 227 Posts
    • 377 Thanks
    DairyQueen
    I think that the confusion was all mine.

    Thank you for taking so much time to clarify. I appreciate it.
    • Simple Soul
    • By Simple Soul 14th Apr 18, 6:59 AM
    • 35 Posts
    • 18 Thanks
    Simple Soul
    I think my confusion arose from the previous discrepancy between the number of years (five) stated as required on the projection versus the number stated as accrued (31) on my NI record.
    Originally posted by DairyQueen
    The figures did not join-up for reasons already given (instead of 4.56 being used in the calculation, 4.558 was used.)

    The number of years accrued on your NI record is not used to calculate your SP for the years after April 2016.

    I quote:

    "The exact amount you get is calculated by dividing [the maximum SP] by 35 and then multiplying by the number of qualifying years after 5th April 2016."

    So, your 31 years are not relevant for post-2016 years. They are only relevant for calculating your Starting Amount.

    99% of people will never experience the discrepancy. You were unlucky last year because your numbers added-up to exactly the maximum SP.

    141.31 + (4.56 x 4) = 159.55
    Max SP = 159.55

    This meant that a drop of 1p, caused by using 4.558 instead of 4.56 took you below the max SP, & meant that you didn't achieve the max until the following year (year 5, instead of year 4).

    In the current financial year, you have narrowly escaped the same thing happening again, because your numbers exceed the max SP by just 2p:

    145.57 + (4.70 x 4) = 164.37
    Max SP = 164.35

    (N.B. The 145.57 includes the latest inflation increase, but excludes 2017/18, which had not yet been updated when you supplied the figure).

    But, the drop of 2p, that results from using 4.696 instead of 4.70, does not take you below the maximum SP.

    If your "year under investigation" becomes a qualifying year, you will probably join the 99% of the population & never have to experience the discrepancy again. If it does not become a qualifying year, then you may continue to experience it in future years.

    If you do get it again, just do what Missile did (see #14) and ignore it. It will either right itself in future years, or you will get 1 or 2p less than the maximum SP.

    By the way, what is your COPE estimate? (It can be found on your online SP Forecast, by clicking on the link towards the bottom of the page.)

    And your 31 years, is that 30 years pre-2016/17, plus one for 2016/17?

    And was your Starting Amount based on the Old or the New SP? Do you know?
    Last edited by Simple Soul; 15-04-2018 at 5:57 AM.
    • DairyQueen
    • By DairyQueen 14th Apr 18, 7:28 PM
    • 227 Posts
    • 377 Thanks
    DairyQueen
    At April 2016 I was credited with 30 years (excluding the year under investigation). I have since accrued a further two post-Apr 2016 years.

    My starting amount was based on the old system.

    There is no COPE link. This has never been available on my online forecast.

    I appear to be on the 'exceptions' pathway. Ho hum.
    • Simple Soul
    • By Simple Soul 15th Apr 18, 5:20 AM
    • 35 Posts
    • 18 Thanks
    Simple Soul
    I last communicated with DWP and HMRC about my NI contribution record over a year ago. There are several inconsistencies between their records and my record of employment and contracting-out. Most of these inconsistencies won't affect my SP. The year 97/98 will have an impact. It has now been 'under investigation' for two years.
    Originally posted by DairyQueen
    1. Why do you you think that most of your inconsistencies won't affect your SP?

    2. Why do you think that the year 97/98 will have an impact?

    3. Do you you know what your COPE estimate is? You seemed to imply that you did, as in one of your posts you said you would love to know the algorithm used to work it out.

    4. Are you sure that there is no link to your COPE estimate on your SP Forecast?
    Towards the bottom of the page, it should say in bold "You've been in a contracted-out pension scheme" and the link says "Like most people, you were contracted out of part of the State Pension."

    As I am sure you already know, at the start of the New SP (6th April 2016) a SA (Starting Amount) was worked out for every individual based on the old system and the new system, and whichever gave the individual the higher SA was used for them.

    5. How do you know that yours is based on the old system?

    If yours is based on the old system, the maximum number of qualifying years you can have prior to 6th April 2016, is 30. This is because the Basic Old SP only required 30 years to get the maximum amount.

    As you already have 30 qualifying years prior to 6th April 2016, the year under investigation (97/98) cannot become a qualifying year unless it causes you to be flipped over from a SA based on the OSP, to one based on the NSP.

    If that does happen, the maximum number of qualifying years prior to April 2016, would be 35.
    Which is why I asked you about your other inconsistencies. If you can make them count as qualifying years, you will achieve the max SP sooner.

    You also say that your SA changed at some point. This is quite possible if corrections were made to your pre-April 2016 record, after April 2016. In fact, it would be odd if your SA didn't change as a result.
    Last edited by Simple Soul; 15-04-2018 at 6:26 AM.
    • DairyQueen
    • By DairyQueen 15th Apr 18, 12:10 PM
    • 227 Posts
    • 377 Thanks
    DairyQueen
    1. Why do you you think that most of your inconsistencies won't affect your SP?
    Originally posted by Simple Soul
    In some of the tax years in which there are inconsistencies, the periods of employment in question (and incorrect HMRC recording of the membership of the associated pension schemes) were short. I have been credited with a qualifying year for each of the tax years in question as I was employed continuously (or with only a short break between employers) throughout each of those tax years.

    Any differences for those years may affect my COPE amount but not my qualifying years. If my COPE amount is affected then it will be marginal as HMRC has correctly recorded my NI record for each organisation with whom I was mainly employed throughout each of those tax years. For example, one tax year I was a member of a contracted-out DB scheme for approx 6 weeks from mid-April thru early June (entire period of service with that employer). I joined a new company in September and became a member of their contracted-out DC scheme for the remainder of that tax year. The short-term employer refunded my pension contributions when I left and should have paid additional NI to HMRC for that period (and I should have been recorded as contracted-in for those 6 weeks). The employer failed to pay the NI and HMRC still has me contracted-out for those 6 weeks although I receive zero benefit from that pension scheme.

    2. Why do you think that the year 97/98 will have an impact?
    Originally posted by Simple Soul
    I was employed from April until late May by one employer and then left service. I joined a new employer in October and worked continuously for them through the remainder of that tax year. I paid full Class 1 NIC throughout both periods of employment (I believe, at the highest rate for employer no.2 as I was a higher rate taxpayer and over the threshold throughout service with them). I was a member of employer no. 1's contracted-out DB scheme for the six weeks (pension contributions refunded on leaving as period of service was under two years). I joined employer no, 2 's contracted-out DC scheme in October of that year.

    However, HMRC has recorded only 30.78 in Class 1 NIC for the entire tax year. That year states 'Too late to pay', and is currently excluded as a qualifying year, on the paper NI 'schedule' of contributions they sent me in, I believe, in 2015 (the sheet is undated). I paid much, MUCH more NI than 30.78 in tax year 97/98.

    It looks like NIC deducted by employer number 2 is not on the schedule for 97/98 and that lack is the reason I have not been credited a qualifying year.

    HMRC advised me of my 'contracted-out' periods during a telephone conversation last year. They have me contracted out into employer no.1's scheme for the entire tax year and have no record of my contracted-out period of employment with employer number 2. I should have been contracted back in for the six weeks of employment with company no.1. and contracted-out from Oct 97 to Apr 98 (employer number 2).

    I therefore believe that this tax year will impact both my qualifying years and my COPE as I was earning much more with employer 2 than with employer 1.

    3. Do you you know what your COPE estimate is?
    Originally posted by Simple Soul
    The paper projection sent to me in June 2016 gave the following info:

    Estimated SP = 133.46 per week. 'Based on current NIC record which shows 30 qualifying years up to tax year 2015/16'.

    'We estimate that your COPE amount is 33.54 a week'.

    That is the only time I have ever been advised of the COPE amount. There has never been a link to COPE, or any COPE mentioned, on my online record.

    4. Are you sure that there is no link to your COPE estimate on your SP Forecast?
    Originally posted by Simple Soul
    Positive. I only knew about this link from this forum. I have never seen any reference to COPE on my online estimate. No link, no amount, no mention.

    5. How do you know that yours is based on the old system?
    Originally posted by Simple Soul
    See figures above (provided in 2016). I qualified for the max SP under the old system (30 years even without 97/98 tax year). The difference between the then max. basic (119.30?) and my estimate (133.46) must have been the amount calculated as S2P for periods of contracting-in under the old scheme.

    As you already have 30 qualifying years prior to 6th April 2016, the year under investigation (97/98) cannot become a qualifying year unless it causes you to be flipped over from a SA based on the OSP, to one based on the NSP.

    If that does happen, the maximum number of qualifying years prior to April 2016, would be 35.
    Which is why I asked you about your other inconsistencies. If you can make them count as qualifying years, you will achieve the max SP sooner.
    Originally posted by Simple Soul
    My current NI record is identical to that provided in 2015 (except for the tax years since added). I have no idea what my current COPE amount is so can't work-out what has happened (if anything) to my record. I have no idea how many of the NI/COPE errors HMRC has resolved. They haven't replied to me with respect to the letter I wrote in July 2017 (9 months ago so not quite the year I previously stated). I last spoke to them around August last year and they assured me that 'a letter is on its way'. Since then I have heard nothing but have been checking my SP estimate online.

    I also paid the balance o/s on three years to qualify for the max 30. Those payments were made prior to 2015, and before I was provided with the information that 97/98 had a question mark against it. That only came to light in 2015. I may therefore have paid to top-up one year, in order to qualify for the max 30, when I didn't need to. (I understand what you mean about 30 versus 31 years depending on whether the starting amount was based on nSP or oSP).

    Right now, as far as I can tell, my qualifying years up to Apr 2016 remain untouched by HMRC.

    Another example: There is a period of pensionable service (Aug 04 through May 05) which is incorrectly recorded by HMRC. This is another example of refunded pension contributions (from a DB scheme). The employer confirmed that they paid the NI subsequently due to HMRC in December of 05 but HMRC still has me contracted out for that period when I should have been contracted back in.

    Sorry for such a long post but the detail was required in order to answer your questions.

    Any light you can shed on this convoluted situation is very helpful. I appreciate you taking the time to explain the possible consequences.
    • Simple Soul
    • By Simple Soul 16th Apr 18, 3:49 AM
    • 35 Posts
    • 18 Thanks
    Simple Soul
    I would be inclined to write to HMRC every 3 months, and include a copy of your original letter, plus a covering letter saying something like: I wrote to you on (date): copy of letter attached. I received no reply. I phoned on (date), and was assured that a reply would be sent within 6 weeks. Nothing has been received. I wrote again on (date), and again on (date). Still nothing.

    You get the idea. Harass them.

    I would also print-out your SPF & NICs record every 3 months, date them & file them. Keep all the copies, even if they are identical. You will then have a solid history to refer back on, and use as evidence if needed. Once all the issues have been resolved to your satisfaction, you can reduce the frequency to once a year.

    In addition, I would ring the Future Pensions Centre and ask for a Pension Statement to be sent to you by post. This should include your COPE. In fact, do this once a year as well.

    It is a bit of a 'belt and braces' job but, with your luck, I think you need both.

    The bad news is that I don't think that 97/98, even if ratified as a full year, will ever count as a qualifying year.

    If you have, at the most, 31 full years pre-April 2016, then your SA, worked out using the nSP, would be:
    4.45 x 31 = 137.95 - 33.54 (Cope) = 104.41

    Your SA based on the oSP was 133.46.

    Therefore, your SA is higher when based on the oSP, so that is what it will be based on.

    That means that, pre-April 2016, the maximum number of qualifying years is 30, which you already have. Adding another year will not make any difference to your SP.

    But don't take my word for this, I could be wrong. Get your records set straight and see what happens.
    Last edited by Simple Soul; 20-04-2018 at 4:20 AM.
    • DairyQueen
    • By DairyQueen 16th Apr 18, 10:52 AM
    • 227 Posts
    • 377 Thanks
    DairyQueen
    Thanks for all the advice and clarification. I have been remiss in not hassling them sooner. Last year I spent weeks (phone/email/letters) trying to sort these issues. Having raised the alarm with pension administrators and HMRC, and following-up with letters, I guess I assumed that action would be taken to remedy the mistakes made by previous employers and/or HMRC. NB: One of those employers was a member of the LGPS so the public sector isn't immune either.

    Seems my assumptions were misplaced. It's a real dog's dinner.

    I would advise everyone to check their NI record, then check it again, and then check it for a third time. Do not rely on employers and and HMRC to correctly record your NIC. It seems they often make mistakes and people are left in the impossible position of trying to resolve their decades-old errors.
    • Simple Soul
    • By Simple Soul 17th Apr 18, 1:49 AM
    • 35 Posts
    • 18 Thanks
    Simple Soul
    Any differences for those years may affect my COPE amount but not my qualifying years. If my COPE amount is affected then it will be marginal as HMRC has correctly recorded my NI record for each organisation with whom I was mainly employed throughout each of those tax years.

    The paper projection sent to me in June 2016 gave the following info:

    Estimated SP = 133.46 per week. 'Based on current NIC record which shows 30 qualifying years up to tax year 2015/16'.

    I qualified for the max SP under the old system (30 years even without 97/98 tax year).

    I also paid the balance o/s on three years to qualify for the max 30. Those payments were made prior to 2015, and before I was provided with the information that 97/98 had a question mark against it. That only came to light in 2015. I may therefore have paid to top-up one year, in order to qualify for the max 30, when I didn't need to.
    .
    Originally posted by DairyQueen
    OK, so your only issue with HMRC is the year 97/98, which you think will have an impact on your COPE (decreasing it), and which you think should be a full year & currently isn't.

    All the other years that you think are wrong have already been credited to you as qualifying years, and their impact on your COPE would be marginal.

    My guess is that the reason HMRC has not replied to your last letter is because it would be a waste of their time to investigate and correct 97/98, because it would not affect your SP anyway.

    This is because your SA (Starting Amount) is clearly based on the oSP, and you already have the maximum 30 qualifying years pre-April 2016.

    Even if they spent time investigating, and confirmed that 97/98 was indeed a full year, it could still not be a qualifying year, because you already have the maximum number of qualifying years possible.

    N.B. A qualifying year is a full year that counts towards your SP.
    A full year does not necessarily count towards your SP.
    For instance, I have 33 full years prior to April 2016, but because my SA is based on the oSP, only 30 of them are qualifying years.

    Regarding the 3 years that you bought: were they bought as Voluntary NICs (class 3)? If so, you may be able to get a refund on the last one. NICs are technically non-refundable, but this is such a common mistake that, if you ask them nicely, and provide a full written explanation of the circumstances, and grovel a bit, I would be very surprised if they did not refund you.

    When chasing the 97/98 issue, make sure you tell them that you intend to apply for a refund for whichever was the last year you paid Voluntary NICs for.
    (N.B. I am only talking about pre-2016 NICs, not post-2016, which are entirely different, and treated and calculated in an completely different way).

    It would then be worthwhile for HMRC to investigate 97/98, because you would then have just 29 qualifying years pre-2016, and 97/98 would be the 30th.
    Last edited by Simple Soul; 17-04-2018 at 2:29 AM.
    • badmemory
    • By badmemory 17th Apr 18, 3:16 AM
    • 1,546 Posts
    • 1,984 Thanks
    badmemory
    Isn't part of the problem though that the COPE may be too large as the 97/98 issue was that it was all counted as contracted out when it shouldn't have been.
    • DairyQueen
    • By DairyQueen 17th Apr 18, 11:29 AM
    • 227 Posts
    • 377 Thanks
    DairyQueen
    Update
    I spoke to HMRC (Contracted-out Section) yesterday. The current situation at HMRC seems not dissimilar to the situation with our roads - full of pot holes.

    The conversation degenerated into farcical on occasion. Luckily I am not a kick-the-cat kind of person.

    Tax Officer (TO): "We issued a letter regarding 2004/2005 and 2005/06 in August last year".
    Me: "What letter? I have received zero communication from yourselves".
    TO: "Oh, didn't you? We confirmed that company X paid the extra NIC due on your refunded pension contribution in December 2005. Our records have always shown this."
    Me: "Huh? That isn't what I was told by DWP. Last year their records showed that I am contracted-out by company X for that period".
    TO: "I don't know what records they are working from".
    Me: "They told me that they worked from records that you sent them".
    TO: "You have always been recorded as contracted-in for that period of employment. We haven't updated that year".
    Me: "But DWP thinks I was contracted-out and they are responsible for calculating my COPE. If they are working from different records then my SP will be reduced by too much COPE."
    TO: "I will send you a detailed record of your history".

    That was just one example.

    She also told me that I was only recorded as self-employed from April 98 through October 99 and that I must have advised them of this in order for it to be recorded (not so and not so). Then, later in the conversation, contradicted herself by saying that I was contracted-out by company Y for the same period and have a full Class 1 NIC record for years 98/99 and 99/00.

    I am still recorded (by HMRC and DWP) as having been employed by organisation Z for the entire 97/98 tax year, and contracted-out into their DB scheme. I was actually employed by them for around 6 weeks at the start of that tax year and they refunded my pension contributions when I left service. I actually joined company Y in October 97 and was contracted-out into their DC scheme from then until I left service in October 99. I became self-employed (and advised HMRC to that effect at the time) in November 99, and remained self-employed until 2001.

    HMRC do not appear to have any record of my employment with company Y for the 97/98 tax year and that year is therefore shown as non-qualifying. They don't seem to know whether I was employed by company Y or self-employed (or both) for the period Apr 98 thru Oct 99 (I was actually only employed by company Y). TO seemed completely baffled when I challenged her conflicting information and it was difficult to establish whether she was reading the information correctly.

    To add to the fun she then started waffling about tax year 2001/02, This was an entirely new issue. I thought DWP's records were correct for that year. It seems that HMRC have a query on this year. I am shown as being contracted-out to company A's DB scheme from April to October (here we go again).

    I was a self-employed contractor for company A for a longish period and then seamlessly became an employee for some months in tax year 2001/02. I was unaware that I had been enrolled into their DB scheme. No idea whether they refunded any pension contributions when I left service and, according to HMRC, they didn't pay any extra NI to contract me back in.

    I have never received any communication from company A about deferred benefits.

    There is a theme running through many of my errors. Exiting a DB scheme after less than two years' membership more-often-than-not resulted in organisations refunding pension contributions but failing to subsequently pay the extra NIC they had previously claimed under SERPs. The result being that periods of contracting-in are incorrectly recorded by both HMRC and DWP as contracted-out.

    So, where am I now? Still up a gumtree apparently.

    I will be checking HMRC's written schedule when it appears in around 8 weeks but it seems that, according to their current records (which, apparently, differ from those held by DWP):

    1) Tax years 88/90 and 89/90 are correct (NIC and COPE).
    This covers the period when (according to DWP) I was contracted-out to two pension schemes concurrently after a company takeover. I was actually a member of only one scheme. I believe that my COPE should now be reduced as a result of this correction.

    2) Tax year 97/98 still shows that I was employed (and contracted-out) by organisation Z throughout the entire tax year (actually employed by them for 6 weeks). HMRC has no record of my NIC and COPE for company Y for that tax year. This explains the pittance recorded in NIC. I communicated with organisation Z (a member of the LGPS) last year. So far they have not refunded the NIC due to HMRC, nor advised HMRC that I was not employed by them for the whole tax year. I assume that this organisation's false reporting has muddied the waters with respect to my starting date with company Y.

    I have been asked by HMRC to provide P60/payslips for company Y for 97/98 if I wish to 'prove' my earnings and NIC. As this was paid under PAYE I am a tad perturbed that our tax system appears to have reduced to third-world status.

    As Simple Soul kindly pointed-out, even if I am (correctly) credited for that year it will make zero difference to my starting amount as I had 30 years net of 97/98 in 2016.

    This 30-year record was achieved courtesy of voluntary top-ups paid on three tax years before 2015. I am therefore out of pocket to the tune of one year's voluntary payment (Class 3?). I would not have paid had I known that 97/98 had been excluded from my qualifying years.

    However, my earnings and NIC were much higher for company Y than organisation Z during 97/98. Am I right in thinking that if the COPE calculation is based only on Y's paltry NIC then it will be less than if X's correct amount is included? If that's the case then the offset between the two (and the marginally higher nSP that would result) could, over time, balance the wasted top-up I made. I am tempted to leave well alone for this tax year, and also write-off the refund I am due for the extra year's voluntary payment. The effort required to sort-it may outweigh any benefit to me and I could end up with less SP and no refund.

    3) Tax year 2001/02 is a new issue. HMRC have a query next to this year but appear to have taken zero action to investigate. Obviously HMRC and DWP wish to keep me busy throughout this summer correcting others' mistakes.

    HMRC records state that I was contracted out into company A's DB scheme from April through October. Now, I'm pretty sure that my status as employee didn't run for 6 months. I believe that I switched from self-employed in around May and left sometime in August. I think it highly unlikely that I have any deferred benefits under their pension scheme and, even if I do, then it would only cover a period of about 3 months so any pension would be about 2p per year. However, company A have claimed reduced NI contributions for 6 months and I am shown as contracted out for the same period.

    I will be contacting company A's pension administrator to see whether I have any deferred benefits and over what employment period. Any discrepancy in their favour, and at my and taxpayer expense, will be reported to HMRC.

    The false reporting of NI and SERPS seems systemic.

    4) HMRC's record of employment with company X for tax years 04/05 and 05/06 reconcile to my records and also to records held by company X. Company X is the only organisation to have correctly reported and paid NI following an exit from a DB scheme with repayment of contributions. I am tempted to name them so any ex/current employee reading this is aware that X is run professionally. However, HMRC failed to advise DWP of X's Dec '05 payment and so DWP still have me recorded as contracted-out.

    I will be contacting DWP again after I receive HMRC's records to try and ensure that the left-hand matches the right-hand - which I very much doubt.

    By the way, TO also stated: "Why are you concerned now? Everything will be correct when you claim your state pension. You have several years yet". I barely suppressed a long cackle of manic laughter. Why she thinks these errors will self-correct is a mystery. I suspect it is more a case of kicking my complicated case down the line until it can't be kicked any more.

    I can imagine the very, VERY long delay in payment of my SP if all these errors are still o/s in 2025.
    • molerat
    • By molerat 17th Apr 18, 3:51 PM
    • 18,365 Posts
    • 12,537 Thanks
    molerat
    The burning question is does it matter ? Will a decreased COPE amount affect your April 2016 starting amount ? Will any added pre 2016 years affect your starting amount ? Will there be any SERPS / S2P addition to your starting amount ? As you are on track to get the maximum anyway do your plans going forward preclude that ?
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    • DairyQueen
    • By DairyQueen 17th Apr 18, 4:35 PM
    • 227 Posts
    • 377 Thanks
    DairyQueen
    Thanks for the reality check molerat.

    Will a decreased COPE amount affect your April 2016 starting amount ?
    Originally posted by molerat
    Yes, my starting amount will increase.

    Will any added pre 2016 years affect your starting amount ?
    Originally posted by molerat
    No, but I topped-up one additional year prior to 2016 unnecessarily thanks to HMRC's under-recording of Class 1 NIC in 97/98 tax year.

    Will there be any SERPS / S2P addition to your starting amount ?
    Originally posted by molerat
    Only if HMRC include the correct SERPS for 97/98. This is the only year in which SERPS is currently under-recorded by HMRC. All other errors overstate SERPS.

    As you are on track to get the maximum anyway do your plans going forward preclude that ?
    Originally posted by molerat
    I am only on track if I pay Class 3 until the max years are reached. If my COPE deceases then the starting amount will increase and I may need less years to reach the max. I am retired, have zero earned income, and have no plans to work again. Therefore any extra years required will be purchased directly by me. Less years = less Class 3.
    • Simple Soul
    • By Simple Soul 19th Apr 18, 8:54 AM
    • 35 Posts
    • 18 Thanks
    Simple Soul
    ..or, the number of years include getting to the new uprated value of SP (3% uplift due from Apr 18, CPI)
    Originally posted by GunJack
    Just noticed this. Is the CPI quoted = Consumer Price Index?
    If so, is this a typo? It's still the triple lock isn't it?
    • Silvertabby
    • By Silvertabby 19th Apr 18, 9:19 AM
    • 2,543 Posts
    • 3,515 Thanks
    Silvertabby
    Just noticed this. Is the CPI quoted = Consumer Price Index?
    If so, is this a typo? It's still the triple lock isn't it?
    Originally posted by Simple Soul
    'Triple Lock' is the higher of 2.5%, CPI, or average wage increase. This year CPI of 3% wins.
    • GunJack
    • By GunJack 19th Apr 18, 9:35 AM
    • 10,073 Posts
    • 7,554 Thanks
    GunJack
    ^^^ this - the triple lock has been Cpi rather than Rpi for a few years now...2011-ish
    Last edited by GunJack; 19-04-2018 at 9:38 AM.
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    • Simple Soul
    • By Simple Soul 21st Apr 18, 1:36 AM
    • 35 Posts
    • 18 Thanks
    Simple Soul
    Will a decreased COPE amount affect your April 2016 starting amount ?
    Originally posted by molerat
    Only if the COPE decreases enough for the SA (starting amount) to flip over from being based on the oSP to being based on the nSP.

    This is possible, but unlikely in DQ's (Dairy Queen's) case, given the large differential between her SAs based on the old and new SP rules (see post #29).

    COPE has zero effect on SAs based on the oSP (as DQ's currently is).

    Will any added pre 2016 years affect your starting amount ?
    Originally posted by molerat
    Again, only if the COPE decreases so much that the SA flips over from being higher based on the oSP, to being higher based on the nSP.
    Last edited by Simple Soul; 21-04-2018 at 2:45 AM.
    • Simple Soul
    • By Simple Soul 21st Apr 18, 2:32 AM
    • 35 Posts
    • 18 Thanks
    Simple Soul
    I have been asked by HMRC to provide P60/payslips for company Y for 97/98 if I wish to 'prove' my earnings and NIC.

    As Simple Soul kindly pointed-out, even if I am (correctly) credited for that year it will make zero difference to my starting amount as I had 30 years net of 97/98 in 2016.
    Originally posted by DairyQueen
    The reason it will make zero difference to your SA, is because your SA is calculated based on the oSP rules, hence the 30 year maximum.

    But if you use that logic, then, even if your COPE changes, it will make zero difference to your SA because COPE only affects SAs that have been calculated based on the nSP rules.

    SAs based on the oSP rules, do not include COPE in their calculation at all.

    Just saying.
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