⚠️ We are working hard to ensure this guidance is up to date. However, you should bear in mind that things may change as the government respond to the ongoing situation.

Coronavirus: Help with paying your tax

Updated on 21 October 2020

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, people may be worried about affording tax payments that they owe. In response to this, HMRC are trying to offer additional support.

people paying tax to a man on a calculator
(c) Shutterstock / supawat bursuk

What if I have a tax debt being collected through my PAYE code?

Both employees and pensioners have tax deducted from their wages or pension income through the Pay As You Earn system. If you owe tax from an earlier period, HMRC can adjust the PAYE code that is currently being used by your employer or pension provider to collect the additional tax.

In view of the current situation, if collection of such an old debt is causing you financial difficulty, you may be able to ask HMRC to spread it over a longer period. Our guidance for employees explains this further, but this could apply to pensioners or employees who are taxed under PAYE.

What if I pay tax through Self Assessment?

The government has announced various measures to help support self-employed people, for example giving them longer to pay their tax. The support offered through the tax system is outlined within our guidance for the self-employed.

The measures include HMRC not asking people to make Self Assessment payments on account that would have been due on 31 July 2020. Instead, you will pay these amounts on 31 January 2021, together with any balancing payment for the 2019/20 tax year if appropriate.

Originally, the guidance published on GOV.UK said that this automatic deferral of Self Assessment payments on account would only be for the self-employed. However, the guidance has since been amended to confirm that it will apply for all payments on account.

So if, for example, you rent out a property and pay tax on the rental income through Self Assessment, you will not be required to make a payment on account on 31 July 2020.

Note, however, that the 31 July 2020 tax payment would have been made towards your tax liability for the 2019/20 tax year, which ends on 5 April 2020. If you have therefore not seen a decrease in your taxable income for the 2019/20 year, you will need to take care to set the funds aside as the tax will still be due on 31 January 2021.

Coronavirus guidance: more information
Information for employers Taking money from your savings
What is the Job Retention Scheme? Taking money from your pension
Employees: illness or self-isolation Help with paying your tax
Employees: work changes Information if you are a student or are repaying your student loan
Employees: universal credit and pay Accessing money in childcare schemes
Redundancy explained High Income Child Benefit Charge: What to do if your income falls?
Support for limited company directors School closures: family members might be able to claim state pension ‘babysitting’ credits
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme Childcare support and benefits for children
SEISS parental extension Inheritance tax exemption
Self-employment and paying tax Support for Carers
Self employment: Illness or self-isolation Carer’s allowance: can you claim?
Self-employment: work changes Volunteering and job opportunities
Help for businesses in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales Scams: please be vigilant!
Test and Trace Support payment Dealing with HMRC during the coronavirus outbreak

Tax penalties: coronavirus ‘relaxations’

Coronavirus guidance home page

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