If you can't pay your tax bill on time

3. What happens next

You’ll have to pay immediately if HMRC think you can when you call. You can pay by direct debit, credit or debit card over the phone.

You’ll be charged a fee if you pay by credit card. The fee isn’t refundable.

If you can’t pay all your tax bill, you may be able to:

  • pay your bill in instalments by direct debit
  • get more time to pay

You won’t be able to pay with a personal credit card from 13 January 2018.

When you might get more time to pay

HMRC may offer you extra time to pay if they think you genuinely can’t pay in full now but will be able to pay in the future.

You can set up a plan to pay in instalments by direct debit on dates they agree with you.

Tell HMRC as soon as possible if your circumstances change and you can pay your tax bill faster.

You’ll have to pay interest on the amount you pay late.

You must keep these payments up to date and pay your other tax. If you don’t, HMRC will normally cancel the arrangement and take legal action against you straight away.

When you won’t get more time to pay

If HMRC don’t think you can get your payments on track with more time, they won’t make an arrangement with you - they’ll expect you to pay your tax bill straight away.

If you don’t, HMRC will start ‘enforcement action’ to get the money from you.

Help and advice

The Money Advice Service has more information about debt management and where you can get free debt advice.

You can also contact HMRC.

Making a complaint

You can’t appeal against HMRC’s decision, but you can make a complaint if you’re unhappy about how you were treated.