HMRC has a set up a phone helpline to support businesses and self-employed people concerned about not being able to pay their tax due to COVID-19. Since then SME businesses have started getting support to delay payment of their VAT and PAYE liabilities. Some have reported that HMRC is not asking for much detail or only requiring minimal evidence. For many they are extending their payment deadlines for the foreseeable future.

For those who are unable to pay due to coronavirus, HMRC will discuss your specific circumstances to explore:

  • agreeing an instalment arrangement
  • suspending debt collection proceedings
  • cancelling penalties and interest where you have administrative difficulties contacting or paying HMRC immediately

The helpline number is 0800 0159 559 – and is an addition to other HMRC phone contact numbers. The helpline is open from Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, and Saturday 8am to 4pm (excluding bank holidays).


We should stress that you MUST call this helpline if you can’t pay your tax or liabilities. If you do not have a plan in place HMRC can and will still issue fines/penalties etc. for non payment.

HMRC is experiencing high volumes of calls and is seriously undermanned. We have clients that have spent 2 days trying to get through but it is important to persist. Our advice, try calling during off peak times eg early morning, after 5pm and Saturday.

Once you finally get through we have found them to be very helpful. We have had clients that have been able to delay PAYE payments, VAT payments, Corp Tax payments for up to 3 months and then monthly payment schemes.

We cannot stress enough that you must persist in getting that call logged in order to delay payments and avoid fines and penalties.

Again, the helpline number is 0800 0159 559. 

If you have any questions please let us know.