What are accelerated payment notices and when are they used?

If you find yourself on the receiving end of an accelerated payment notice (APN) from HMRC, it can seem daunting. First things first, do not panic.

Below, we have put together some answers to frequently asked questions that may help.

So, what is an APN (accelerated tax payment notice)? 

An accelerated payment notice (APN) is a notice that a taxpayer with an ongoing tax or National Insurance contributions (NICs) issue may receive from HMRC (typically following their involvement in a tax scheme). The demand requires the taxpayer to pay the amount first, within 90 days, and resolve the dispute later. 

 If you are in multiple schemes, you may not get all of the APNs that HMRC plans to issue at the same time. These are issued on a scheme by scheme basis.

What do I do if I receive an accelerated tax payment notice?

Please do not ignore it. By failing to pay for an APN by its due date, you could increase the amount owed with late payment penalties or surcharges, and there is no right to appeal an APN. However, there are possible (but limited) grounds to make a representation during the 90 days notice. Such as: 

  • The incorrect amount specified within the APN
  • The required conditions for the issue of an APN have not been met.

If you think you will have problems paying the APN, you should contact the HMRC telephone number shown on the notice, or any previous correspondence which informs you in advance of an APN. 

Can I negotiate the terms of an accelerated tax payment notice with HMRC?

There are two methods in which to engage with HMRC:

  • Negotiating the amount
  • Applying for additional time to pay

If you believe that the amount quoted on the APN is incorrect, then representations (as mentioned above) may help with any negotiation to lower the amount owed to a more satisfactory one, or even zero in some (limited) cases.

Requesting additional time to pay the notice would require you to work with an advisor, to put together a recent monthly statement of income and expenses over a recent period which demonstrates any hardship that would occur if the tax were to be paid in a large sum.

Once your enquiry or appeal is received, HMRC will consider your application and respond by accepting, rejecting or proposing an alternative.

There is always the chance of further legal proceedings if your negotiations fail. It is important to remember that simply receiving an APN is not necessarily the end of the road, as the case could continue with a taxpayer victory, resulting in tax paid under the APN being refunded.

If you’re struggling to pay any tax bill, you must contact HMRC as soon as possible. 

If you require any further support or advice, please do not hesitate to contact one of our team members who will be pleased to provide the help you seek. As a company, we do not ordinarily deal with these matters; however, we do have relationships with high-quality accountants and advisors that can assist.

Additional help

HMRC Coronavirus Helpline 

Telephone: 0800 0159 559 

Monday to Friday, from 8 am to 4 pm. 

Calls to this number are free.