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Can you pay taxes after the deadline in the UK?

  • 4 min read
  • Last updated 17 Apr 2024

There are two things certain in life: death and taxes. 

But unlike the former, taxes have a fixed deadline. 

(Sorry if that’s a bit morbid, folks…)

Of course, it’s easy to get dates and deadlines muddled up – after all, we all have busy lives to lead. 

If you’ve filed a Self Assessment tax return but you’re late in paying it, you might be wondering if you can pay after the deadline. We’ll explain everything you need to know below.

Self Assessment tax returns explained

Let’s refresh your memory real quick.

Self Assessment is basically the way that you declare and pay your taxes to HMRC. You tell them about your untaxed income and they’ll calculate the bill you owe. There are various reasons that you might have earned untaxed income, such as:

  • You’re self-employed
  • You earn more than £100,000
  • You have a side gig alongside your full-time job
  • You’re a landlord 
  • You have capital gains from investments
  • You make a profit from selling assets (e.g. a house)
  • You’re claiming pension tax relief

Once you receive your bill from HMRC, you need to pay the tax you owe before the deadline. Otherwise, you could land in hot water with HMRC!

Want to test your knowledge?

Think you know all there is to know about dates, deadlines and penalties? Click the button below to take our fun and funky tax penalties quiz.

(OK, it’s neither fun nor funky, but it is a quiz).

When is the deadline for tax returns?

There are two key deadlines that you need to know about for tax returns. 

  1. If you’ve never done a tax return before, you’ll first need to register for Self Assessment. This is essentially how you tell HMRC that you’re earning untaxed income. The deadline to register for Self Assessment is the 5th of October in any given year. 
  1. And when it comes to actually paying your tax return, the Self Assessment deadline is 31st January the year after the tax year you’re paying for. So, if you’re paying your 2024/2025 tax return, this should be paid before the 31st of January 2026.

But what happens if you miss these deadlines? Can you pay after the deadline?

Wondering if you can pay taxes after the deadline?

Technically, yes – if you miss the 31st January deadline, you can still pay your tax return bill after this date. 

However, paying late comes with consequences. HMRC have a deadline for a reason, you know?

Self-assessment penalties: how much will you pay if you’re late?

Failing to submit

There are two fines that HMRC can dish out if you’re late on the Self Assessment deadline. It may come as a surprise to hear that the penalty for forgetting to file for Self Assessment is just as strict.

Anyone who is required to file a return, but misses the deadline, will receive an automatic £100 penalty from HMRC – and this is imposed regardless of whether you owe tax or not! 

For every day you’re late, an additional fine will be added on top of that flat £100 penalty.

How late you areFine (each gets added to the others!)
between 1 day and 3 months£100 flat fine
between 3 months and 6 months£10 each day
between 6 months and 12 months£300 flat or 5% of your tax bill (whichever is greater)
over 12 months£300 flat or 5% of your tax bill (whichever is greater)

Paying late

How much will you pay in penalties if you’ve filed but just forgotten to pay your tax bill before 31st January?

How late you areLate payment penalty
between 1 day and 30 days0
between 30 days and 6 months5% of your tax bill
between 6 months and 12 monthsanother 5%
over 12 monthsand another 5%

On top of these fines, you’ll also pay interest on any late payments:

Period in which you were lateAnnual interest rate
Since 22 August 20237.75%
Between 24 May 2022 – 21 August 2023see full list here
5 April 2022 – 23 May 20223.25%
7 April 2020 – 4 April 20222.6%
21 August 2018 – 6 April 20203.25%
21 November 2017 – 20 August 20183%
23 August 2016 – 20 November 20172.75%
29 September 2009 – 22 August 20163%
before 29 September 2009see the full list here

So the moral of the story? Don’t forget to pay your taxes before the deadline!

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Avoid fines and pay your taxes on time with TaxScouts

Can you pay taxes after the deadline in the UK? Yes of course, but to avoid paying hefty fines, we recommend you get your taxes sorted before 31st January. At TaxScouts, we offer hassle-free tax returns! Get in touch to see how we can help you.

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