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Easing the Self-Assessment Payment Pain

  • 26th January 2022

Paying your self-assessment tax, which is due by 31 January, can be difficult for many taxpayers. As for new traders, they have to find 150% of their annual tax liability, which will indeed come as a shock.

We have a look at three possible solutions to this problem:

1. Set up a Payment Plan

You could set up a Budget Payment Plan with HMRC to pay a small amount of tax each week, or month, by direct debit. This facility can be used to pay income tax due under ITSA but not currently; CGT, CT or VAT. Unfortunately, you will need to be fully up to date with your SA tax liabilities before you can start a payment plan, but new traders can use it.

Government has vowed to make improvements to the Budget Payment Plan by April 2022. We will therefore keep you informed of any changes as and when they are announced.

2. Reduce payments on account

At this stage in the tax year you ought to have a reasonable idea of how your business has performed in 2021/22. If your profits are below what you were expecting, especially for hospitality businesses which faced a disappointing Christmas, then you can look to reduce the payments on account for SA tax due for 2021/22.

If profits are above expectations when your 2021/22 tax return is finalised you will have to pay some interest on what you should have paid on 31 January 2022 and 31 July 2022, but that will be much better than having to find the money now.

3. Time to pay arrangement

You will need to be able to pay at least one twelfth of your tax bill straight away, as under a Time to Pay arrangement HMRC will expect any tax owing to be settled through regular installments within a year, via direct debit payments.

Getting a Time to Pay arrangement is now an automated process if the tax debt is less than £30,000, as you can set it up through your Government Gateway account. If you owe more than £30,000 to HMRC a Time to Pay plan must be arranged with a physical HMRC officer by ringing the self-assessment payment helpline: 0300 200 3822.

How to set up a Budget Payment Plan

Apply for Time to Pay

This information is taken from the weekly Tax Tips, published by the Tax Advice Network, for which you can subscribe at

Any news or resources within this section should not be relied upon with regards to figures or data referred to as legislative and policy changes may have occurred.