Time to pay

Some common questions

Simon Crookston, Partner, Corporate Tax

We are seeing an increasing number of queries from our clients who would like to understand what the consequences may be if they deferred tax payments and what options may be available to them and their business to manage their taxation liabilities in the current climate. 

This is becoming even more important as employers look to ensure the welfare of their people, with many people working remotely and having less access to the day- to-day office information which they may normally have to hand.

We have set out below an overview of:

  • the general key payment dates for VAT, corporation tax and PAYE which are coming up over the next few months
  • the consequences which may arise as a result of payment delays
  • the options that may be available to defer tax payments.

What are the due dates for tax payments?

  • VAT returns filed - one month after the VAT period end. Some organisations benefit from a seven day extension.
  • VAT tax payments - one month after the VAT period end. Some organisations benefit from a seven day extension.·       

The government has announced a VAT payment holiday until the end of June with the balance to be cleared by the end of the year.

Corporate tax
  • Corporate tax returns filed – 12 months after accounting period end.
  • Non large entities - payments nine months and one day after end of accounting period.
  • Large companies – quarterly instalment payments – 13th day of months 7, 10, 13 and 16 after the start of the accounting period for a 12 month accounting period. Slightly different rules apply for shorter or longer accounting periods.
  • Very large companies – quarterly instalment payments – 13th day of month 3, 6, 9 and 12 after the start of the accounting period for a 12 month accounting period. Slightly different rules apply for shorter or longer accounting periods.
PAYE / National Insurance Contributions (NIC)
  • PAYE / NIC and Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) – postal payments due by 19th of the following month for monthly payments.
  • PAYE / NIC and CIS – electronic payments due by 22nd of the following month for monthly payments.
  • PAYE/NIC and CIS – due by the 19th or 22nd (as above) after the end of the quarter if you pay quarterly, for example, 22 July for the 6 April to 5 July quarter.
  • CT61 – income tax due for quarterly CT61 returns, normally 14 April, July, October and January.
  • PAYE Settlement Agreement (PSA) – PAYE/NIC owed under a PSA must be paid by 22 October after the tax year the PSA applies to (19 October for postal payments).
  • Submission of P11D and P11D (b) forms online to HMRC – 6 July.
  • Class 1A NIC – postal payments due by 19 July.
  • Class 1A NIC – electronic payments due by 22 July.
Other returns and payments
  • ATED (Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings) submission – 30 April.
  • P60 to all employees – 31 May.
  • Second Payment of Account (POA) for income tax – 31 July.

The government has announced a deferral until 31 January 2021 for the self-employed.

  • Hard copy self-assessment tax return submission – 31 October.
  • Online self-assessment tax return submission – 31 January.

When do HMRC start chasing for tax payments?

For corporation tax, HMRC will not start chasing for payment until a tax return has been submitted. It is at this point that HMRC will have information about the tax which is due and HMRC’s Collector of Taxes will normally, assuming the tax payment date deadline has been reached, start to seek to collect any unpaid tax which is due.

For VAT and PAYE/NIC late payments, HMRC will seek to chase soon after monthly or quarterly deadlines have been missed.

Delaying submitting your corporate tax return may provide a short reprieve from being chased by the Collector of Taxes for outstanding tax.  However, it should be borne in mind that non-submission of tax returns on time can ordinarily lead to late filing penalties being imposed by HMRC and may be taken into account when HMRC consider a taxpayers general tax compliance record.

What are the penalties if I don’t file my tax returns/pay on time?

  • For the first offence, HMRC will issue a warning letter, but no penalty
    will be charged.
  • Second offence – 2% surcharge on unpaid VAT.
  • Third offence – 5% surcharge on unpaid VAT.
  • Fourth offence – 10% surcharge on unpaid VAT.
  • Fifth and subsequent offences – 15% surcharge on unpaid VAT.
  • Once a company enters a surcharge period, the clock can only be reset to ‘no offence position’ once
    the business has filed 12 months’ worth of VAT returns on time.
Corporate tax
  • £100 late filing penalty if return not filed on time.
  • three months late - additional £100 penalty.
  • six months late – HMRC will issue a tax determination and will seek to collect the tax they have determined. 10% penalty based on the unpaid tax at that time.
  • 12 months late – Additional 10% penalty based on the unpaid tax at that time.
  • The six month tax determination can only be overturned by making a valid corporation tax submission.
  • For the first offence during a tax year HMRC will not charge a penalty for late filing/payment (unless the payment is more than six months late).
  • 1-3 late payments – 1% of the total value of the late payments in the tax year.
  • 4-6 late payments – 2% of the total value of the late payments in the tax year.
  • 7-9 late payments – 3% of the total value of the late payments in the tax year.
  • 10+ late payments – 4% of the total value of the late payments in the tax year.

Additional late payment penalties

  • In addition to the above, late payment penalties can also arise, particularly if you have not paid a monthly or quarterly payment in full after six months. This additional penalty will be 5% of the amount unpaid.
  • A further 5% penalty will be charged if payment remains outstanding after 12 months.

The above penalties apply for all monthly, quarterly or annual PAYE, CIS deductions and Class 1 NIC.

For annual payments such as employers’ Class 1A and Class 1B NICs, the additional late penalties noted above will apply after the due date with a 5% penalty being charged at 30 days, six months and 12 months.

What interest does HMRC charge if I delay paying my tax?

  • If tax payments are paid late then, subject to agreement otherwise, late payment interest is due to HMRC. This accrues on a daily basis.
  • HMRC announced a reduction in their late payment interest by 0.5% to 2.75%. This applies for a short period from 23 March for quarterly instalment payments and from 30 March for all non-quarterly instalment payments. A further 0.15% decrease has now  been announced to 2.60% from 30 March for quarterly instalment payments and 7 April for all non-quarterly instalment payments. Repayment interest on overpaid tax remains at 0.5%

In these difficult times, businesses may wish to consider whether late payment of their tax in the short-term, represents a cost effective funding option when compared to their other borrowing costs.

Is there an HMRC helpline I can call if I am struggling to pay?

The UK Government has set up an HMRC tax hotline, 0800 024 1222 that can be called to request delays in paying VAT, corporate tax, PAYE/NIC etc. It is our understanding that HMRC are being sympathetic, particularly to businesses with a good payment and compliance record. Although currently our clients that have tried to call the helpline are experiencing delays in being able to speak with anyone.

For more information, read HMRC’s guidance on using the hotline.

HMRC will discuss your specific circumstances to explore:

  • agreeing an instalment arrangement
  • suspending debt collection proceedings
  • cancelling penalties and interest where you have difficulties contacting or paying HMRC immediately.

Before calling it is recommended that you have to hand details of:

  • an outline of the business including size, number of employees, recent history, basic financial
    position etc?
  • why the business needs the additional time to pay and what other existing measures have been put in
  • what other funding options and self-help measures have been considered and are being undertaken?
  • what action has been taken with suppliers and customers to delay payments / seek payments on
  • how long the help is likely to be needed for – is it a bridge until some customer payments come in or anticipated to be for a few weeks or months?
  • when does the business foresee if will return to stability and be able to repay the liabilities to HMRC?

In terms of contacting HMRC, it is often better if the call comes from the company/business in the first instance.

If you try to speak to the helpline and consistently cannot get through then we would suggest writing to HMRC at the address included on the link above to evidence that you have tried to contact them. This in itself will not provide any help, although will assist evidence that as a business you are seeking to take all reasonable steps to reach some form of agreement with HMRC.

Can I revise my corporate tax quarterly instalment payments as I’m now expecting lower taxable profits?

As noted above, large and very large companies make corporation tax payments by way of quarterly instalment payments. 

Each instalment payment should be based on the expected taxable profit outturn for the full accounting period, with each instalment based on the revised expectation at that point in time. For example, by the third instalment date, 75% of the company’s tax due should have been paid based on the expected full year results.

Where taxable profits are predicted to be lower as a consequence of events, such as COVID-19, then future quarterly instalment payments should be scaled back accordingly. Whereas, in the unlikely event profits are expected to be higher, then future payments should ‘top-up’ the current position.

If companies believe that they have now overpaid quarterly instalment payments based on their new revised full year projects then they can contact HMRC to seek a tax refund of the overpaid tax.

However, delaying tax filings and payments is an option that a number of businesses are also considering. As noted above, there are various penalties and additional interest costs which can arise as a consequence of taking this action, although for some, the interest cost, particularly for corporation tax payments, may be considered a good short term funding option when considered against their other costs.

For any business that is considering this option it is worth considering HMRC’s helpline for assistance, although our current client experience is that many clients are experiencing difficulties in getting through to speak to anyone.

For any further help and assistance for your business, please do contact your usual Crowe contact.

COVID-19 related webinars

Sign up for our short, succinct webinars on relevant areas related to managing the impact of coronavirus. 
Register now to receive an invite as soon as they are recorded.
COVID-19: Managing the impact 
Helping you and your business through the challenges

Contact us

Simon Crookston
Simon Crookston
Partner, Corporate Tax