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rajibraj 15 January 2023

Understanding Payments on Account for Self-Employed Individuals

Managing taxes can be a complex task for self-employed individuals. Among the various tax obligations, "Payments on Account" is a crucial aspect that requires attention. Let's delve into what Payments on Account entail and how they affect self-employed individuals.

What are Payments on Account?

Payments on Account are advance payments made by self-employed individuals towards their tax bill for the upcoming tax year. This system is in place to help individuals spread their tax payments across the year, contributing towards their tax bill in two instalments rather than a single lump sum.

How Payments on Account Work:

Let's consider an example to illustrate how Payments on Account function:

Case Scenario - Emma, a Freelance Graphic Designer:

Tax Year 2022-2023: Emma's tax bill for this year, which ends on April 5, 2023, amounts to £10,000.

Payments on Account for 2023-2024: Emma will need to make advance payments towards her next year's tax bill. This is calculated based on her previous year's tax liability (in this case, the £10,000 tax bill for 2022-2023).

Here's the breakdown:

First Payment on Account (Due by January 31, 2023): Emma will be required to make the first instalment, equivalent to half of her previous year's tax bill (£10,000 / 2 = £5,000), along with any National Insurance contributions due for the current tax year.

Second Payment on Account (Due by July 31, 2023): Another payment of £5,000 is due as the second instalment, completing the estimated tax for the next tax year.

However, it's essential to note that these Payments on Account are based on the previous year's tax liability. If Emma's earnings in the 2023-2024 tax year are lower than the previous year, she can apply for an adjustment or reduction in Payments on Account.

Payments on Account are advance payments made towards upcoming tax bills, based on the previous year's tax liability, divided into two instalments due by January 31st and July 31st.

Challenges and Considerations:

Fluctuating Income: Self-employed individuals with varying income levels might find it challenging to predict their upcoming tax liabilities accurately.

Cash Flow Impact: Paying instalments in advance can impact cash flow, particularly if business revenues fluctuate.

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For self-employed individuals, understanding Payments on Account is crucial for effective tax planning. Timely payment of these instalments ensures compliance with HMRC regulations, avoiding penalties and interest on late payments.

It's advisable for self-employed individuals to keep track of their income, expenses, and consult with a qualified accountant to manage Payments on Account effectively.

Remember, accurate financial record-keeping and proactive tax planning can alleviate the stress associated with Payments on Account and ensure compliance with tax obligations.

If you're a self-employed individual facing uncertainties or needing assistance with tax planning, seeking professional advice is highly recommended.

Stay informed, plan ahead, and navigate your tax responsibilities with confidence!

Saad Munir

[email protected]


This blog offers an overview of Payments on Account for self-employed individuals, providing insights into their significance, challenges, and considerations, alongside an illustrative example to simplify the concept.