Don’t get caught out by the Self Assessment Sunday deadline!

Sunday 31st January is right around the corner and if you’re a small business owner or freelancer who has to submit a tax return this year, you’ll know that this is the date by which you have to submit your Self Assessment for the 2014/15 tax year to HMRC.

It’s also the date by which you have to pay your tax bill - and with the 31st January falling on a non-banking day this year, it’s more important than ever to get organised and make sure that your payment reaches HMRC on time.

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.

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
Bacs Three working days By using the bank details listed on gov.uk
Debit card Three working days By following the links from your HMRC online account.
Credit card (1.5% charge) Three working days By following the links from your HMRC online account.
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.
At the Post Office (only an option if you get paper statements from HMRC and have a paying-in slip which they sent you). Same day (Monday-Friday only) By paying a maximum of £10,000 by debit card, cash or cheque made payable to ‘Post Office Ltd’.
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’.

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’.

As you can see, the majority of the payment methods only apply on banking days (i.e. Monday to Friday), and many of these methods take a few working days for your payment to reach HMRC. You can find out more on gov.uk.

Whichever method you plan to use to pay your tax bill this year, make sure you file your Self Assessment with HMRC in enough time to allow your payment to reach them before the 31st January deadline. Otherwise you will have to pay interest and may even face a penalty, even if you manage to file your tax return on time.

Need some support?

If you still need to prepare and file your 2014/15 Self Assessment tax return and would like some additional support, why not download our step-by-step guide for preparing and filing your 2014/15 tax return? It talks you through each stage of the process and provides lots of additional hints and tips to help you complete each section of the Self Assessment form.

You can also join our live text Q&A on Sunday 24th January or our live video webinar on Tuesday 26th January and ask Emily a question about Self Assessment. Hope to see you there!

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