Coronavirus / Covid-19 - HMRC Payments

20/Mar/2020

To follow up one of the points in our update earlier this week, one of the key business support mechanisms announced by the Chancellor involves engagement and pragmatism from HMRC when it comes to payment of taxes over the coming months.

One such measure is the setting up of a HMRC Coronavirus telephone helpline to support businesses and self-employed people worried about inability to pay taxes due to the challenges brought about by Covid-19.

Taxes covered include self assessment, corporation tax, VAT, PAYE and CIS (and any other taxes relevant to businesses or individuals) and is intended to offer practical help and advice to those concerned about meeting their payment obligations.

We’re told that up to 2,000 experienced call handlers are on-hand to operate the service which, although is likely to be busy, should be a good port of call in the event of difficulties.

Also logging a call with the intention of seeking advice or resolution is likely to be seen as a proactive step by businesses as opposed to an avoidance of the responsibility to pay tax which will unfortunately still exist despite the current climate. 

Advice we expect to feature heavily as part of that offered by the helpline is the ‘Time to Pay’ service which is designed to offer support by either the agreed delay or spreading of tax payments to alleviate cash flow.

In our experience success in achieving a payment agreement with HMRC (which we do expect to be somewhat more likely in the current circumstances) is often assisted by the following:

  1. Knowing the extent of the liability, and ideally having it filed with HMRC so they can verify it
  2. Offering to pay at least something on time as a starting point
  3. Calling them before the liability falls due if possible

HMRC’s Coronavirus helpline is open Monday to Friday 8am–8pm, Saturdays from 8am–4pm and can be reached on 0800 0159 559.

Further details can be found on the HMRC website: https://www.gov.uk/difficulties-paying-hmrc

If and when you do call make sure you have your unique taxpayer reference – that way you’ll be able to receive bespoke advice that will be noted on your account for discussion if needed.

Also ensure to take the name of the agent you speak to and a reference for the call – try to remain calm, have as much information on hand as possible and remember they are there to help!

The important thing to take away from this note is that the obligation to file taxes remains the same and that relief is centred around payment – penalties for late filing are not expected to be relaxed so do make sure any upcoming financial challenges are mitigated by their avoidance.  

If you have any questions regarding this or anything else please get in touch, and for regular updates, announcements and news make sure you’re following our LinkedIn page: https://www.linkedin.com/company/dsa-prospect-ltd