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VAT: HMRC's new online self-service time to pay

  • 27th June 2023

The HMRC have recently launched an online self-service 'time to pay' facility.

HMRC are now aiding VAT registered businesses in taking further control over their cashflow, specifically in the case of if the business has a high VAT liability owed to HMRC that they will struggle to pay.

Usually if a business can’t pay their VAT liability owed they can call HMRC and after passing security questions can set up a “time to pay” agreement providing they meet the criteria.

However this process can be frustrating as HMRC will try to limit the number of repayment months and is not always consistent with their rulings.

Now that HMRC have set up the self-service “time to pay”, the process should be much smoother and less stressful for businesses.


Before you can apply the online process does come with a few conditions that must be met:

  1. The latest VAT return has to already been filed
  2. The amount owed to HMRC is £20,000 or less
  3. Application is made within 28 days of the deadline
  4. Business doesn’t have another active time to pay agreement or any other debts with HMRC

Under the online process the maximum repayment term is 6 months.

Providing the conditions are met, businesses can set up the agreement by following the below specific link and logging into the government gateway account.

If you do have any outstanding VAT Returns or a balance over £20,000 HMRC will confirm that you are ineligible upon logging in.

Otherwise HMRC will take you through a series of pages and questions before you can agree the payment plan.


Hopefully by moving the service online HMRC will simplify and automate another service as they work towards their aim of digitally communicate with taxpayers.

This shift does mean that us as agents are excluded from being able to set up time to pay arrangements for our clients.

However we would still be able to provide advice on the facility and be available to discuss any cashflow forecasts or issues as wished.

All data and figures referred to in our news section are correct at the date of publishing and should not be relied upon as still current.