What If you can’t pay your self assessment income tax bill on time

If you find in this time of uncertainty that you are unable to pay your self assessment income tax liability, there is help at hand.

If you have already missed your payment, you should contact HMRC as soon as possible.

How you contact HMRC will depend on how much tax you have to pay (see below).

Please note that if you did not pay your payment on account, which would normally have been due by 31 July 2020, the payment deadline for this was delayed until 31 January 2021. This change in date was automatic and no contact with HMRC was required and there is no penalty arising at this stage.

I am unable to pay my 31 January 2021 Liability – what should I do?

You can set up an online payment plan to spread the cost of your self assessment bill if you meet the following conditions:

  • You owe £30,000 or less
  • You do not currently have any other debts or payment plans with HMRC
  • Your self assessment tax returns need to be submitted up to date
  • It is less than 60 days after the payment deadline

To be able to do this click on the following link:

In order to use this facility however, you will need to have set up a government gateway account, see below if you need details of how to do this.

You will not need to contact HMRC if you set up a payment plan online.

If you do not have the ability to use the online service or you do not meet the conditions to set up an online payment plan, you will need to call the self assessment payment helpline:

Telephone number: 0300 200 3822
Opening hours Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm


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In order to start the process, you will need to have a government gateway ID. If you do not have a gateway account you will need to create one. To do this start by logging onto the Government Gateway login screen. This can be done by visiting –

Once loaded, scroll down to the bottom of the page to the selection titled ‘If you do not need coronavirus guidance’ and click ‘Continue to my account’.

Please note:
Navigating to the direct login URL – – may not work in subsequent sessions.

You will then be brought to the page shown (left). 

Select the option ‘Create sign in details’ to begin the process of creating a Government Gateway account 

NOTE: If you already have a government gateway account, please make a note of your login details – you will need these later. 

In order to create an account you will need the following information; 

  • Email address 
  • UK Mobile phone number (For additional security to your account) 

If prompted, please ensure that you select to create an INDIVIDUAL account. 

Upon completion of the registration process you will be provided with a Government Gateway user ID. You will need your user ID and your password each and every time you sign in to your Government Gateway account. 

Further information may be required to finalise your account, as set out below.  You may be asked to confirm your identity, you will need the following information; 

  • First name 
  • Last name 
  • National Insurance Number 
  • Date of Birth 

Plus one of the following:

  • your UK passport and the passport number/expiry date 
  • your home address and postcode for the completion of credit checks – entailing answering some straight forward questions regarding your personal details.

Upon supply of the above information, you will be requested to review and confirm your details. Once you are happy please complete the process.

You have now successfully set up your government gateway account. 

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