Know how long it will take your Self Assessment payment to reach HMRC

Wednesday 31st January isn’t just the date by which you have to submit your Self Assessment for the 2016/17 tax year to HMRC. It’s also the date by which you have to pay your tax bill - so it’s important to get organised and make sure that your payment reaches HMRC before the midnight deadline.

Here’s a handy rundown of the main payment options that HMRC accepts, how long each type of payment takes to process and how you can use each payment method.

Please note, you can no longer pay at the Post Office and personal credit cards are no longer accepted.

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.
Business 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, if you’re planning to meet the deadline then make sure you file your Self Assessment with HMRC in enough time to allow your payment to reach them before the 31st January. Otherwise you will have to pay interest and may even face a penalty, even if you manage to file your tax return on time.

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.


Want more inspiration and business tips?

Join our mailing list to receive helpful tips and guides, news and offers from FreeAgent (you can unsubscribe at any time).