The order of precedence for refunds, which are available on application and not automatic, are detailed below (all references to Class 1 contributions are to the primary contributions only – there is no limit on employer contributions).

2004–05 to 2015–16

The order of precedence for refunds was set for 6 April 2004 until 5 April 2016 as follows:

Class 4 (not mentioned in the legislation, but automatically refundable in full if the annual maximum for Class 1 has been reached);

Class 1 at the reduced rate;

Class 2;

Class 1 not contracted-out at the main primary rate;

Class 1 COSR rate (which were always on earnings in the main rate band);

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