It is often human nature to leave things to the last possible minute. So, it should come as no surprise to find that a large number of those of us subject to self-assessment chose to pay our tax bills in January, just before the deadline at the end of the month.
It used to be possible to pay your annual tax bill in a number of ways, such as at your bank, your local Post Office or even at a local branch of HMRC. However, over the years the number of ways to pay has been diminishing.
For the last few years, only those who still receive a paper statement and a paying-in slip from HMRC have been able to pay at either a bank or Post Office, however, a recent bulletin issued to agents by HMRC has advised that the ability to pay at a Post Office will be withdrawn altogether from 15th December this year.
In addition, the ability to pay online using a credit card will be withdrawn from 13th January 2018. Payments using corporate credit cards will still be accepted, but all personal credit card payments will be refused.
This leaves paying by debit card the only option for most people who want to pay by card online. This will come as an unforeseen blow to many who rely on their credit card to spread the cost of their tax bill, particularly after any financial strain of the Christmas holidays.
There are other ways to pay, such as with a single direct debit payment, or by sending a cheque through the post, but all these options require the full amount of tax to be paid by the deadline. A budget plan can be set up, but this requires budgeting to be done in advance, with regular payments made in advance of any tax becoming due.
Our advice is therefore to prepare. If you haven’t already thought about how you will pay your tax bill this year, then this is the time to do it.