Cannot pay tax bill

I’m self employed and I’ve only just prepared my tax return. As a result, I’ve only just found out that I haven’t put enough aside for my tax liability. What should I do- should I put off filing my return until I have the money for my tax bill?

1st December 2015

Your balancing payment for this year (2014/15) and if applicable, an instalment for next year (2015/16) are due by 31stJanuary 2016, together with your tax return.

If you are struggling to pay your tax, you should call HM Revenue & Customs’ (HMRC) Business Payment Support Service (BPSS). HMRC will ask you probing questions about the business and your cashflow, to ascertain why you can’t pay your tax. If they think you genuinely cannot pay your tax they may grant you an extension to settle your taxes in or agree a payment plan. However, they will not reduce the amount outstanding and they will still charge you interest.

Even though you can’t afford to pay your tax, you must make sure you still file your return before 31st January 2016. Otherwise, you will be charged an automatic late filing penalty of £100 and the penalties will mount up the longer the delay in filing the tax return. Furthermore, the BPSS will only consider making arrangements where the tax is not yet overdue- so do not leave it too long to speak with them.

If you don’t feel confident in negotiating with HMRC, feel free to contact your local TaxAssist Accountant who would be happy to liaise with HMRC on your behalf.

By Jo Nockels

Disclaimer: The information provided is based on current guidance (at date of publication) from HMRC and may be subject to change. Any advice shared here is intended to inform rather than advise. Taxpayer's circumstances do vary and if you feel that the information provided is beneficial it is important that you contact us before implementation. If you take, or do not take action as a result of reading this information, before receiving our written endorsement, we will accept no responsibility for any financial loss incurred.

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