Working without a NI number

Re: Working without a NI number

Postby AgentProvocateur » Sun Jan 23, 2011 8:54 pm

Dear Chris

I happen to know somebody who works at HM Revenue and Customs and I can give you a very comprehensive answer to this question. What you have got to realise is the position of your employer. They are bound by certain procedures. All employers must submit P14 forms - one for each employee - that work for them each year. Upon this form they are supposed to put down the pay and tax details of their employees and also their personal details, which include the name and address of employees and also their national insurance number. According to the law all employers must now submit these forms online, and they are tied in to the revenue and Customs computer systems via various 'gateways' so to speak.

If you go to an employer and get hired and do not give them a national insurance number then your employer will do one of two things. They will either make up a national insurance number off their own bat (a very problematic choice indeed, though I will not go into the details as it is irrelevant to your question), to satisfy the online filing requirement. Or they will leave the field blank and submit your P14 without a national insurance number. Usually it is the latter they will engage in.

The implication of this is as follows: the computer will generate what is known as a temporary reference number i.e. a temporary national insurance number. It will be one that is of a slightly different format to a true national insurance number. This will automatically generate a duplicate record on the HM Revenue and Customs database for you as an individual. And this will create in turn what is a discrepancy that will need to be resolved on their databases.

When this occurs, an employee of HM Revenue and Customs will be tasked with attempting to trace your "real" employment record based upon your "real" national insurance number, and attempt to merge your temporary record with your real record. This will be done "behind the scenes" so to speak and you will not even be aware of it. Essentially, if you go to your new employer and do not give them your national insurance number but give them your real name and your real address and date of birth, then when your temporary reference number is created and your duplicate record is created, somebody will very easily be able to trace your real record and merge the temporary record with its temporary reference number to your real record. Ergo, you will have achieved absolutely nothing of any consequence in terms of standing up to "The Man" and "The system".

The only way in which you can somehow combat this aspect of the system is to be 100% self employed. Now, you may be thinking that you can go to any employer and ask them to put you on their books as self-employed. Think again. Your employer will contact HM Revenue and Customs to seek clarification on this point and after being passed from pillar to post and probably calling about three or four different numbers they will finally find themselves in contact with somebody known as the Status Inspector. The Status Inspector will ask them a series of questions, such as, does this person have 'free rein' to work for you, and do they have command of what their own hours will be, or do you set the hours that they must come in to work? Etc. After they have had this little conversation they will realise that they cannot take you on as self-employed and then they will come back to you and say we must employ you under the pay as you earn system (PAYE). You will have to accept this. And if you still refuse to give your national insurance number, then as I said, your employer probably won't really care as such, because due to their procedures they will interact with the computer systems of HM Revenue and Customs to automatically generate a temporary reference number for you which will create a duplicate employment record for the purposes of collecting your tax and national insurance contributions and holding them back as per the pay as you earn system. The only way under which you will be able to obtain 100% of your wages is to be some sort of expatriate, which will involve a lot more consideration.

I hope this has been of help.

Agent Provocateur
Last edited by AgentProvocateur on Tue Mar 08, 2011 9:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Working without a NI number

Postby Chris247 » Mon Jan 24, 2011 6:18 pm

Thank you very much AgentP,

One of the more comprehensive answers and I have to say, very informative too.

I would love to go self-employed right now, and I'm kind of firing myself up for the time I do.

Thanks all
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Joined: Sat Dec 18, 2010 9:42 pm


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