For anyone with a self assessment payment due by 31 January, it is now possible to set up a time to pay arrangement, subject to electronic approval, solely online without contacting HMRC.
If an installment plan for direct debit payments is agreed with HMRC then there will be no charge for any late payment penalties or surcharges from the time that the agreement is in place, provided taxpayers keep to the arrangement.
However, interest will be charged on any payment made after the deadline – currently at 3.25% per annum.
People will only be able to use this service once they have missed the payment deadline – to make a payment arrangement before the self assessment deadline taxpayers will have to contact HMRC’s Payment Support Service.
This would give until the end of February 2020 for a 2018-19 tax return bill, due on 31 January 2020.
HMRC published updated guidance on 20 January 2020 in which HMRC says it will provide “extra, bespoke support to people facing financial hardship or in personal difficulty”.
This appears to be a softening of language and approach, probably in response to recent criticisms under the loan charge debacle. HMRC states that “90% of our time to pay arrangements complete successfully”.
Self assessment payment helpline can be called on: 0300 200 3822