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Time to Pay


Taxpayers sometimes find that, once they have reached agreement with HMRC, they are unable to settle the tax, interest and (in some cases) penalties in one lump sum.

Whilst HMRC are within their rights to transfer the case to their “debt management” department, who will collect the funds via any reasonable means (e.g. forcing the sale of assets or, in the extreme, making the taxpayer bankrupt), they are often open to discussing alternatives.

Clearly, there are potentially serious repercussions for an individual taxpayer if they are forced to sell assets/declare bankruptcy (not least their reputation) and HMRC would prefer not to jeopardise their potential future revenue stream (e.g. by forcing a business to close) if they can agree a way of receiving the liability over time instead. This is called ‘time to pay’.

As part of the “time to pay” process, HMRC will undertake certain checks to ensure that:

  • There is a genuine inability to pay the liability upfront, and
  • The taxpayer will be able to adhere to any payment plan. Getting a specialist involved at this point can mitigate many of HMRC’s concerns and can make the process of agreeing time to pay run a lot smoother. It’s also important to act fast as once a case has been passed to debt management, it can be more difficult to get a payment plan agreed.


Hamilton Rose have 30 years of experience dealing with HMRC and, put simply, we know what they will and will not accept when it comes to discussing “time to pay”. We know how to manage the time to pay process correctly to ensure that your best interests and assets are protected.

We can also work with you and/or your client to ensure that any method of financing the payments is efficient from a UK tax point of view.