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Paying self assessment liabilities

The deadline for paying self assessment tax liabilities are usually:

  • 31st January – for any tax you owe for the previous year (known as a balancing payment) and first payment on account
  • 31st July – for the second payment on account

Make sure HMRC are paid before the deadline as there may be interest and penalties added for late payments.

Paying same or next day

Paying in 3 working days

Paying in 5 working days

  • Direct debit (if you have not previously set one up with HMRC)

If paying online ensure you use the correct reference number, this is your personal unique tax reference (UTR) followed by a lower case k.

Paying self assessment tax liabilities without a UTR

HMRC’s backlog of registrations means that some taxpayers will need to consider settling self assessment liabilities before their unique taxpayer reference is issued.

HMRC has a significant backlog of applications to register for self assessment, particularly applications made using the SA1 form rather than the CWF1 form that is used to register self-employment.

It is possible to make a payment in this situation, against the national insurance number (NINO) rather than the UTR (so it is not a solution for taxpayers with no NINO). As explained in HMRC’s guidance, pay your self assessment tax bill: by cheque through the post, this involves generating a payslip and posting it with a cheque to HMRC.

It is not possible to pay at a bank or online without a UTR. It may be necessary to contact HMRC once the UTR has been issued to ensure that the payment has been correctly credited to the taxpayer’s self assessment account.


As late filing penalties are not charged until at least three months from the date of the notice to file a return the delay in registration will not affect this. For example: if the taxpayer has applied to be registered for self assessment six months from the end of the tax year (5th October 2021 for the 2020/21 tax year) this will satisfy the notification requirement so the failure-to-notify penalties will not be applied.

Payment should be made by 31st January 2022 to avoid interest charges and by 2nd March 2022 to avoid a 5% late-payment penalty. Or in cases where the 5th October deadline for notification of liability was missed.

For further self assessment advice contact AJR & Co Ltd