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Self-Assessment clock is ticking – what can you do?

Self-Assessment clock is ticking – what can you do?
Monday, January 29, 2018

As you’ll likely be aware, HMRC no longer accept tax payments by personal credit card. The Post Office will not be processing personal tax returns either.


But you don’t need to worry. HMRC still accept a number of alternative payment methods but it’s very important you ensure that payment does reach the taxman by midnight on 31st January 2018.


In this article, we’ve grouped all of the payment options you have by how long they will take to clear, meaning you can plan ahead of the deadline.


Missing the payment deadline will lead to you being charged interest, and even incurring penalties, so keeping organised is absolutely vital.


Clearing time – Same day/next day


  • Online or telephone banking (Faster Payments)
  • CHAPS – payments made via CHAPS will reach HMRC the same working day, if you pay within your bank’s processing times. 
  • Corporate/Business credit card, online – there is a non-refundable fee for this service. Only business credit cards can be used to pay tax returns. 
  • At your bank or building society – you can only pay at your branch by cash or cheque if you still get paper statements from HMRC and still have access to the paying-in slip HMRC sent you.

The following methods will clear too late but it’s useful to know them for next time you make a payment to HMRC.


Clearing time – 3 working days 

  • BACS – The account details to use for a BACS payment can be found at this page.
  • Direct Debit (if you’ve set one up with HMRC previously) -  if this is your first Direct Debit payment to HMRC, allow 5 working days for it to process. After this, each payment will take no longer than 3 working days. 
  • By cheque, through the post – you can print a paying-in slip to use for this method of payment. It can’t be used at a bank. 

Clearing time – 5 working days 

  • As mentioned above, your first Direct Debit payment to HMRC will take 5 working days to clear.

Additionally, you could choose to adjust your tax code to recover any tax due. There are limitations to this method.


If you find yourself in a position where cashflow is an issue, you may be able to negotiate paying off your arrears in instalments. HMRC will only offer this service if you can provide them with: 

  • Your reference number – this is either your VAT reference number or your unique, 10-digit taxpayer reference,
  • The amount of the tax bill you’re having difficulties paying,
  • The reasons why,
  • How much you can pay on the spot, and how long you’ll need before you can pay the rest, and,
  • Your bank account details.

Expect further questions, too. HMRC will ask you about your income and expenditure, as well as your assets such as investments and savings. They’ll also ask you about what exactly it is that you’re doing to sort out your tax payments and use this information to make a decision on your situation.


Their final decision will either mean you have to pay immediately, or you’ll be able negotiate a payment plan. If you’ve had to use this service before, it’s likely HMRC will ask in-depth questions regarding the reasons behind your inability to pay. In more extreme cases, they may ask for evidence.


A less popular payment method is setting up a Budget Plan. This means you pay regular instalments in advance of the payment date, to lighten the financial load once the deadline rolls around.


If you have any questions about paying your tax return, don’t hesitate to get in touch – the deadline is the 31st January.


Call the Panthera team on Panthera accountant today on 01235 768 561 or email

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We found Panthera via our search for a Xero expert. We knew the software we wanted to use, and needed a forward-thinking accountancy partner who could get us up and running, and teach us the ropes moving forward. Tory and her team have always been on hand to answer our questions, and help us to grow as a business, particularly during periods of big change, such as becoming VAT registered. They are always on hand to alleviate any concerns and help to keep our records in order, which makes our year-end accounts an absolute breeze! Being based in Bristol, our relationship is entirely email based, alongside one consolidation meeting at year end - this keeps things simple, efficient and most importantly, hassle-free.

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The whole team at Panthera are great! Working with them has been a huge support to my growing business. They help me to understand the numbers I need to know. They give me technology solutions like Xero so that I can process things quickly and have access to my own figures. They are quick to reply, highly knowledgeable, nothing is too much trouble and as well as making sure that everything is compliant and on time, they are enthusiastic, professional and fun to work with.

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Working with Tory and the team at Panthera is an absolute joy - they provide a first class service on every level; from simple Xero issues through to more complicated tax enquiries, they’re always on-hand to help me get it right. I’m certainly not their biggest customer, but I’m always made to feel like their most important one.

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I would like to say that Panthera Accounting have helped me with my business accounts for more than 4 years now. They have consistently offered an excellent competitively priced service that works both professionally and in such a friendly way that I would highly recommend them to everyone considering using their services.

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I had been with Mr Dunn for 20 years when upon his death Panthera took over the business. They now play a bigger part in the running of my business, they do all the stuff that has to be done but I don't like doing ie book keeping, VAT, wages, and returns. They are always there to answer queries and sort out issues and make sure all Tax deadlines are met. Their costs are fair, service is great and I have and would highly recommend them.

Jonathan Morrison Wallingford Builders
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Panthera Accounting have gone above and beyond the call of duty to guide and support our Company. They offer a professional, friendly and personal service that can take the stressful and sometimes frightening feelings out of running a business. They have guided us through the working of Xero and have offered “teaching sessions” on the day to day running of the accountancy package. Our only regret is that we didn’t join their team earlier.

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