Tax collection options

If you do not pay your tax bill on time and cannot make an alternative arrangement to pay, HMRC can take ‘enforcement action’ to recover any tax you owe.

You can usually avoid enforcement action by contacting HMRC as soon as you know you have missed a tax payment or cannot pay on time.

They may agree to let you pay what you owe in instalments, or give you more time to pay.

Otherwise, there are a number of enforcement actions HMRC can take to get the tax you owe. They can:

  • collect what you owe through your earnings or pension
  • ask debt collection agencies to collect the money
  • take things you own and sell them (if you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland)
  • take money directly from your bank account or building society (if you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland)
  • take you to court
  • make you bankrupt
  • close down your business

If you do not pay your tax on time, you’ll probably have to pay interest on the outstanding amount. You may also have to pay a penalty or surcharge.

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