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Struggling to pay your tax? Set up a time-to-pay agreement

The self-assessment tax return for 2018/19 must be filed by midnight on 31 January 2020, and any tax still owing for 2018/19 must be paid by the same time, along with the first payment on account of the 2019/20 tax liability.

Taxpayers struggling to pay their tax bill should not ignore it in the hope that it goes away. Rather, they could consider setting up a time-to-pay agreement allowing them to spread their tax bill over a number of months.

What is a time-to-pay agreement?

A time-to-pay agreement is simply a payment plan that allows a tax bill to be paid in instalments. Ideally, it should be set up before the date that the payment is due. It can be considered for all taxes, not just those due under self-assessment.

How to set one up?

To set up a time-to-pay agreement, you will need to call HMRC’s Payment Support Service on 0300 200 385.

Information you will need

When calling HMRC, you will need to tell them:

  • your 10-digit unique taxpayer reference;
  • the amount of the tax bill you are struggling to pay and why;
  • what action you have taken to try and get the money to pay the bill;
  • how much you can pay now and how long you will need to pay the balance; and
  • your bank account details.

HMRC will usually ask for information about your income and expenditure, your assets and what you are planning to do to get your tax payments up to date.

Paying in instalments

HMRC will only allow payment to be made in instalments if they think that you are genuinely unable to pay the bill on time but will be able to do so in the future. Payment under an instalment plan must be made by direct debit on agreed dates. Interest is charged on tax paid after the due date.

Missed the self-assessment deadline?

If you have already missed the self-assessment payment deadline, you should call HMRC’s Self Assessment Payment Helpline on 0300 200 3822 in the first instance rather than the Payment Support Service.