HMRC self assessment: TikTok tax expert's tips if you can't afford to pay tax as deadline nears

Mitchthetaxman gives advice on filling in the HMRC self assessment as the tax return deadline nears Credit: PA

By ITV News multimedia producer Rachel Dixon

Tuesday (January 31) marks the deadline for people to submit their self assessment tax returns.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is expecting around 12 million people in the UK to file a tax return for this year.

According to the tax department, 3.4 million people had not submitted theirs yet as of last week.

With the cost of living high and money tight for many, some people have turned to TikTok for help to fill out the finance forms.

It's become a sensation, with videos on the platform using #hmrc raking up 73.6million views and #selfassesment following suit with 32million views.

Mitchell Young, known as @mitchthetaxman is a TikTok sensation Credit: Mitchell Young

One expert, known as @mitchthetaxman, has gained 32k TikTok followers and hundreds of thousands of views, as people take to social media for financial advice.Mitchell Young said: "Tax can be confusing and daunting to a lot of people and I am able to speak in a way the audience can understand and relate to.

"Since the pandemic people are looking to gain short snippets of knowledge every day and that is why I believe TikTok is becoming the go to place for this.

"I want to reach as many people as possible to help them save tax and avoid unnecessary penalties.

"HMRC operate self assessment in the UK and they expect individuals to keep up to date with all the changes which is challenging."The 39-year-old finance expert has been 'overwhelmed' with the response to his videos, and people asking for advice, especially as the cost of living crisis worsens.

He added: "We have seen more individuals request for us to assist in negotiating a time to pay arrangement this year than ever before and I believe this has somewhat to do with the cost of living crisis and monthly expenses increasing which includes people’s mortgages."

Mitchthetaxman's five tips for the HMRC self assessment

  • Make sure you have all the necessary reference numbers at hand so you can move through the online steps without any restriction to include your ten digit unique tax reference number and national insurance number

  • If you are struggling to pay the tax bill you do have the option to pay via a credit card

  • If you cannot afford to pay the tax liability you can contact HMRC time to pay helpline and agree a payment plan. Depending on your affordability this can be over a few months and sometimes a year

  • If your income is going to decrease this year you can choose to recue the tax payments on account.

  • There is a lot of information and guidance on HMRC website in particular they have a section full of help-sheets

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Who needs to file a tax return?

You must file a tax return if, in the last tax year (6 April to 5 April):

  • You were self-employed as a ‘sole trader’ and earned more than £1,000 (before taking off anything you can claim tax relief on).

  • You were a partner in a business partnership.

  • You earned £100,000 or more.

You may also need to file a tax return if you have any untaxed income, such as:

  • Some Covid-19 grant or support payments.

  • Money from renting out a property.

  • Tips and commission.

  • Income from savings, investments and dividends.

  • Foreign income.

Other reasons for filing a return:

  • Claim some income tax reliefs

  • Prove you’re self-employed, for example to claim Tax-Free Childcare or Maternity Allowance

  • If your income (or your partner’s, if you have one) was over £50,000, you may need to send a return and pay the High Income Child Benefit Charge.

Use this HMRC tool to check if you need to send a tax return.

What if I can't afford my tax return?

If you cannot afford your tax bill, you may be able to set up a payment plan to pay in instalments. This is called a ‘Time to Pay’ arrangement.

If the HMRC is not convinced you can keep up with the payments, it will not allow you to use the Time to Pay plan. You will then be asked to pay the amount in full.

People can set up a payment plan online, depending on which type of tax and how much they owe. The full list is here.

If you do not meet the requirements you’ll need to contact HMRC and people will be considered based on their circumstances.

Where to get help?

Call HMRC's income tax helpline straight away if:

  • With the deadline looming tomorrow, you know you can’t pay your tax

  • From Wednesday onwards if you miss the deadline

  • Your statement is wrong

Where to call for help:

  • The income tax helpline is 0300 200 3300 and HMRC says it is best between 8am and 11am on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

  • Phone the TaxAid helpline on 0345 120 3779

  • If you work out a payment plan but still owe more than £5,000 after paying a lump sum talk to an adviser at your nearest Citizens Advice.