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Help if you’re struggling to pay your Income Tax bill

What to do if you're struggling to pay your Income Tax bill

It’s important to contact HMRC if you’re going to struggle to pay your tax bill. If you don’t pay it on time, you’re likely to end up paying interest and fines on the outstanding amount.

HMRC might also:

  • collect it straight from your earnings or pension
  • get a debt collection agency (bailiff) to recover the money – they might take things you own and sell them (if you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland)
  • take money from your bank account or building society (if you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland)
  • take you to court
  • make you bankrupt or close your business.

If you have an outstanding payment, or are worried you might miss a future payment, call the HMRC Time to Pay helpline on 0300 200 3822.

You can also create a Time to Pay arrangement using you online Government Gateway account. 

If you can't afford your tax bill

If you can’t afford to pay your tax bill, you need to contact HMRC as soon as possible by calling the Business Payment Support Service on 0300 200 3825. This service is for everyone, not just businesses.

What you need to prepare when asking HMRC for help

You’ll need to suggest how much you can afford and over what length of time you can make the repayments.

To come up with this, make sure you:

  • work out how much you have coming in and note down any risks to your income in future
  • make a budget – making sure you can cover any living costs and other priority debts
  • come up with an amount that you’d be comfortable paying back every month
  • using that monthly figure, work out how long it would take to pay off.
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If your situation changes, you can call them again to explain the situation and suggest a new repayment plan.

If HMRC don’t agree to your repayment plan ideas, they’ll use the information you gave to come up with another repayment arrangement.

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Make an emergency budget

If you’re worried about cashflow, have a look at what you’re spending and what income you have coming in.

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You can also look at ways to reduce your household bills, such as switching providers for your gas, electricity or mobile phone contracts.

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When to get debt advice

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Extra support if you’re struggling financially and with your mental wellbeing

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Having mental health issues might mean that you struggle to make the best money-based decisions for you, as well as act on them.

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Remember, if you’re struggling financially and with your mental wellbeing, it’s worth getting in contact with your bank, building society, lender or whoever you owe money to, to discuss your options.

However, picking up the phone and talking about your problems is often easier said than done when you’re struggling with your mental health.

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Most places that you owe money to have policies about supporting you if you’re vulnerable. But they can’t help you unless you ask.

For some general tips on how you can manage your mental health check out Rethink’s guide. It covers everything from setting a budget to getting help if you, or someone you care about, is having a mental health crisis.

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Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free, impartial help for all your money and pension choices. Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

Continue to website
Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free, impartial help for all your money and pension choices. Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

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