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Having difficulty paying a tax bill? Here's what you need to do

Anyone having difficulty paying a tax bill should contact HMRC as soon as possible, calling the HMRC's Payment Support Service on 0300 200 3835. At the time of writing, the Coronavirus helpline (0800 024 1222) is also live, providing access to similar support.

Some Self-Assessment taxpayers can apply for a TTP online through a self-service portal. For everyone else, the negotiation takes place over the phone with HMRC. The focus of this conversation will be on the caller's financial position, establishing whether the TTP arrangement will represent the best payment solutions and, if it will, setting that up.

Clients should be advised to carefully prepare the information they will need for the discussion. This will include details of income, disposable assets and expenditure, the reference number of the specific bill they are concerned with and a records of any other debts outstanding to HMRC.

The taxpayer will firstly discuss, over the phone, whether TTP is needed. It must be determined that the arrangement is required given the caller's financial circumstances; e.g. if they have no assets they can realise to cover the debt.

Having established that TTP is required, the next stage is to negotiate how long this will be for and how much will be paid regularly. During the conversation, a direct debit will be set up for the payments, so even if they are represented by an adviser, the taxpayer themselves will need to be on the call.

The instalments will last for as long as the individual or business needs, but as quickly as they can pay with the details of their income taken into account. If the HMRC adviser establishes that the taxpayer is able to pay quickly in just a few installments, this whole conversation could be quite short.

If the situation is more complex, or less certain, the call could take much longer. Clients should be advised to make the call when they have plenty of time to discuss their circumstances in detail, and given the private nature of the information that will be covered, in a suitable location.


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