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Deferral of your Self-Assessment Tax Liability and arranging a payment plan.

by | Jan 19, 2021 | Personal finance, Tax

If you are unable to make payment of your Self-Assessment Tax Liability, you may be able to apply for a payment plan. The easiest option is to give them a ring on 0300 200 3822 (Opening times: Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm, closed on weekends and bank holidays) to discuss. However, as we approach the Self-Assessment deadline, you may be on hold for a considerable amount of time. The added workload caused by the pandemic and nationwide lockdowns has also increased the number of taxpayers requiring extra time to pay, so HMRC have created and launched an instalment mechanism that you can access directly from your HMRC account.

Self-Assessment payment plan eligibility criteria

You can set up a Self-Assessment payment plan through your HMRC account.

To be eligible to set up an online payment plan you need to:

  • owe between £32 and £30,000.
  • have no other tax debts.
  • have no other HMRC payment plans set up.

In addition, you must have submitted your tax return for the year ended 5th April 2020, and have no earlier tax returns outstanding. 

You can choose how many instalments you wish to make repayment over, though the debt will accrue interest of 2.6% per annum, until it is paid.

We recommend that the plan is request prior to the 31st January 2021. The plan must be set up within 60 days of the due date, (ordinarily the 31st January 2021 if you have not received an extension) therefore by the 31st March 2021. If a plan is not in place by the 31st March 2021, you will receive an automatic penalty of 5% of the unpaid tax.  

Common issues with applying for an online payment plan

If the eligibility criteria above are not met, you may receive a “not eligible for an online payment plan” error message. This is most commonly due to the Tax Return not being processed before requesting a payment plan. From submission of your Self-Assessment Tax return, please allow 72 hours before requesting. In addition, some returns may require manual intervention from HMRC which can cause delays to the processing time. If you are unable to request after waiting for 72 hours, please contact HMRC by phone.


If you need to call HMRC to arrange a plan, you can reach them on the Self-Assessment Payment Helpline on 0300 200 3822 (Opening times: Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm, closed on weekends and bank holidays). For anything else, you should use the main Self-Assessment helpline: 0300 200 3310 (Opening times: Monday to Friday: 8am to 6pm, closed on weekends and bank holidays).

When calling HMRC, it is always best to have your taxpayer details to hand. This includes:

  • Your UTR (Unique Tax Reference) Number
  • Your National Insurance Number
  • Details of the tax owed and what period it relates to
  • Reason you are unable to make the payment.

They will normally request your contact details should they need to call back, and you will need to provide your address details to pass the security.

HMRC’s Payment Support Service for Other Taxes

If you are unable to make payment of other taxes such as VAT or Corporation, you can call the Payment Support Service (PSS) on 0300 200 3835 (Opening Times: Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm, closed on weekends and bank holidays)

If you have received a payment demand, such as a tax bill, statement or a letter threatening legal action, please call the HMRC office detailed on the letter.

It is always recommended that you call to arrange a payment plan prior to the debt becoming due.

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