By Claire West

HM Revenue & Customs has sent out millions of statements to the UK’s self-employed and others with untaxed income reminding them to pay their second tax instalment for the 2009-10 tax year by 31 July.

“The amount shown on the statement is calculated according to an individual’s income for the previous tax year (2008-09). But if the amount you earned has fallen, or if you are no longer self employed, you could be entitled to pay a lower amount of tax than appears on the statement,” explains Richard Mannion, national tax director at accountancy and financial services group Smith & Williamson.

However, warns Mannion:

“While a reduction in the July payment will help to ease cash flow — which is clearly very helpful for anyone who has suffered a downturn in these difficult times — it’s important to get your calculations right. If you reduce your tax payment below the final liability, interest will be charged from the date the tax payment fell due. So if you don’t get your figures right, you will ultimately end up out of pocket.”

“31 July has another important implication under tax self-assessment which is often forgotten. It’s also the date for a second automatic penalty of £100 for anyone who has yet to submit their 2008-09 tax return, which was due in January. One way or another, 31 July is an important date for your diary.”

Individuals who think they may be entitled to a reduction in the July tax payment (strictly known as a payment on account, in this case for 2009-10), should obtain form SA 303 from their local tax office or at http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/sa/forms/sa303.pdf. They will need to state what figure they are reducing the payment to and the reason for the reduction.