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How does Payment on Account work?

Payment on Account” means that you pay tax in two instalments:

It’s usually the self-employed (and very rarely landlords) who have to use Payment on Account.

If you earn more than 80% of your income through PAYE, don’t worry about Payments on Account.

Why is my first Payment on Account so high?

Basically, in your first year, you have to pay 150% of your tax bill in one go.

For example:

  1. your tax bill for 2019/20 is £5,000
  2. you need to pay this in full by January 31st 2021
  3. you also need to pay an additional advance payment of £2,500 (50% of £5,000) at the same time.
  4. finally, you have to pay another £2,500 by July 31st 2021.

What if my income is smaller next year?

You can ask the HMRC to reduce your payment.


However, we recommend you pay the Payment on Account as it is.

If your profits are indeed down, then HMRC will refund you the difference.

What if my income is higher next year?

You will be required to make a “balancing payment” by January 31st next year so your account is up to date.

How to check what to pay

Log in to your online account and click “View statements”.

You can find information on:

  • payments you’ve made already
  • your next payments.

Is it optional?


Once you submit your Self Assessment tax return, you are automatically enrolled in it.

The only exceptions:

  • you’ve already paid 80% or more of the total tax amount you owe (for example, through PAYE)
  • your tax bill from Self Assessment was under £1,000.

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