What do I do if I can’t pay my self assessment tax bill?

self assessment

If you can’t pay your self-assessment bill to HMRC by January the 31st you should follow our advice and get help quickly. As Licenced Insolvency Practitioners we see a lot of people wait too long to get help and this causes a lot of problems, the sooner you get a plan in place the more options you will have.

January 31st is the deadline for submitting and paying your self-assessment, so if you are described as self-employed you or your accountant need to work out how much you owe for the previous year and submit this to HMRC as well as pay this by the 31st January.

Whilst most self-employed people are aware of this deadline January always seems to be the month that so many people struggle to pay it. Christmas expenses, unexpected winter bills, and new term expenses are some of the many reasons people find themselves short of cash in January.

Self-employed people often find that December payments are late due to shorter opening hours over Christmas meaning they don’t always get paid from clients in time. However, the HMRC doesn’t often go easy on small businesses and the self-employed, if you submit your tax forms late or pay late you could be subject to fines and demands from the beginning of February.

I can’t pay my Tax Bill

It is not uncommon that you may struggle to make the self-assessment payments, payments for self-employed in January is often higher for those who have student loans as they have student loan repayments included in the January return, whereas in June the amount doesn’t often include this so is less. In an ideal world, you would save some of your money monthly to save up for your bill, but realistically life gets in the way. Late payments, unexpected emergencies or bills, even sickness can mean you can’t put that money away every month.


What to do about your self-assessment bill

If you can’t pay your self-assessment bill by January the 31st you should do the following:

  • Work out how much you owe and submit your self-assessment form to the HMRC online
  • Work out how much you can pay off the full amount
  • Work out if you can pay in installments and the most you can afford in the fastest payment plan
  • Get your Government Gateway ID and user reference ready – failing this your tax reference
  • Call the Payment support helpline on 0300 200 3835 to work out a payment plan as soon as you can BEFORE the deadline.

What you shouldn’t do if you can’t afford your tax bill

Whatever you do, do not put yourself into a lot of debt to pay your tax bill, you are better off arranging a payment plan with HMRC than incurring interest charges on loans or credit cards. Do not use a payday loan service as this could spiral you into a significant amount of debt quickly.

If you are already struggling with debt and this tax bill feels like the final straw, don’t worry, there are many solutions to work it out and if you are really concerned about this bill and other debts Lines Henry can help arrange IVA’s and sort out other personal debt solutions to help you get debt free.