The 31st of January marks a significant date for many in the UK – the deadline for Self Assessment tax returns. However, what happens if you find yourself unable to pay your tax bill? This situation can be stressful, especially for dads juggling family finances. Here’s a practical guide on what steps to take if you’re in this predicament.

Don’t Ignore the Bill

Key Point: Ignoring your tax bill can lead to penalties and increased debt.

Advice: Contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) as soon as you realise you can’t pay.

Communicate with HMRC

Key Point: HMRC may offer support if you’re struggling to pay.

Advice: Be honest about your financial situation and ready to discuss your income and expenditure.

Consider a Time to Pay Arrangement

Key Point: HMRC may offer a ‘Time to Pay’ arrangement.

Advice: This allows you to pay your tax bill in instalments over a period of time.

Check if You’re Eligible for Support

Key Point: Certain circumstances might qualify you for additional support.

Advice: Research HMRC guidelines or seek advice from a tax professional.

Look into Budget Adjustments

Key Point: Adjusting your budget can free up funds for your tax bill.

Advice: Review your monthly expenses and see where you can make cuts.

Seek Professional Advice

Key Point: Professional advice can provide clarity and options.

Advice: Contact a tax adviser or accountant for personalised guidance.

Plan for the Future

Key Point: Planning ahead can prevent future issues with tax bills.

Advice: Consider setting aside money each month towards your next tax bill.


Facing difficulty in paying your tax bill can be daunting, but it’s crucial to take proactive steps. Communication with HMRC, exploring payment options, and seeking professional advice are key. Remember, you’re not alone in this, and there are pathways available to help you navigate this challenge.


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