When you pay HMRC today, is there a delay?

We all know this tax season is unique due to the taxman’s decision to no longer accept payment via personal credit card, but lesser known are the payment methods that he does still accept, writes Emily Coltman FCA, chief accountant at cloud accounting firm FreeAgent.

Regardless of the payment method you choose – nine are outlined below, be aware that you paying isn’t the same as the taxman getting your money before the deadline of January 31st --next Wednesday. If you don’t factor that in, you stand a greater chance of being fined -- and then some!

Payment type How long it takes for the payment to reach HMRC How you can pay
Online or telephone banking ('Faster Payments') Same or next day, including weekends and public holidays By using the bank details listed on gov.uk.
CHAPS Usually the same working day (if you pay within your bank's processing times) By using the bank details listed on gov.uk.
Debit card online HMRC will accept your payment on the date you make it, not the date it reaches their account - including on weekends and bank holidays By following the links from your HMRC online account.
Credit card online (1.5% charge) HMRC will accept your payment on the date you make it, not the date it reaches their account - including on weekends and bank holidays By following the links from your HMRC online account.
At your bank or building society (only an option if you still get paper statements from HMRC and have the paying-in slip they sent to you in the post) Same day (Monday-Friday only) By paying cash or writing a cheque made payable to 'HM Revenue and Customs only' followed by your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) followed by the letter 'K'.
Bacs Three working days By using the bank details listed on gov.uk.
Cheque through the post Three working days By writing a cheque made payable to 'HM Revenue and Customs only' followed by your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number. It should be posted along with your paying-in slip to HMRC, Direct, BX5 5BD - no street name, city name or PO Box is required.
Existing Direct Debit Three working days By setting up a Direct Debit from your HMRC online account. (Note that you have to set up a new direct debit every time you wish to make a payment).
New Direct Debit Five working days By setting up a Direct Debit from your HMRC online account.

Note: For payments where a reference is required you will need to use your 10-digit Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR). Where a payment reference number is asked for, you should use your UTR followed by the letter 'K'.

 

Whichever method you plan to use to pay your tax bill this year (you can no longer pay at the Post Office), make sure you file your Self-Assessment with HMRC in enough time to allow your payment to reach them before January 31st. Otherwise you will have to pay interest and may even face a penalty, even if you managed to file your tax return on time!

Lastly, don’t forget that online payment services may be slow during busy times - you can check online if there are any current problems or times they aren’t available. Good luck!

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