A dedicated helpline has been set up to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities receive support with their tax affairs. Through this, businesses may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement.

Please note – VAT due on quarters ending February, March and April 2020 will automatically not be required for payment until 31 December 2020.  There is no need to call the help lineregarding these VAT quarters.

This number was getting so many calls that it couldn’t cope so on 26th March, HMRC have announced a new number to call which is: 0800 024 1222. The opening hours for the helpline have also changed to between 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday only.

Information that may be needed to hand for the call:

  1. Unique tax reference (10 digits long)
  2. Tax specific references if needed:
    • PAYE reference (if calling about PAYE)
    • Accounts office reference (if calling about PAYE)
    • VAT number (If calling re VAT)
  3. Your business address
  4. Details from your balance sheet including:
    • Total amount held in the bank
    • Money owed to your business by customers
    • Money you owe to others
    • Details of any loans you have already in place
    • Details of any loans you are seeking to put in place
  5. How long your cash balance will sustain the business if you have no further income

Be prepared to negotiate a payment plan for any unpaid taxes.  As they have to talk to a decision-maker they are not able to take calls from us as your accountants. However, if you have internal finance / bookkeeping staff they can make this call for you – but as a business owner you should probably remain available if needed.

The line is very busy, and we are getting reports of difficulties with clients being able to get through.  It can take many attempts over days to get in touch with them, especially since they have reduced their hours from 8am – 4pm.

Generally, the payment support line take calls once the payment date has passed. Given difficulties getting in contact with them, it may be best to contact them only after the deadline for a payment has passed. Generally, when a tax liability falls due that you cannot pay in full, it is sensible to pay something, even a token amount, to show willing to pay. If you can’t contact the help line for a prolonged period, this may help your case when you eventually get though.

They will be able discuss the specific circumstances to explore:

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

If you run a business or are self-employed and are concerned about paying your tax due to coronavirus, you can call HMRC’s helpline for help and advice: 0800 024 1222.


  • This is essentially the government offering a loan to your business by delaying payment, it still remains due for payment eventually.
  • VAT due on quarters ending February, March and April 2020 will automatically not be required for payment until 31 March 2021. There is no need to call the help line regarding these VAT quarters.Even if you do currently have the cash available to make these payments, we would suggest you set it aside rather than pay it as you are facing an unknown period of disruption to your business.